August 6 - Shipping company Flinter says that it has successfully completed negotiations with its bankers to extend its credit facilities, thus creating a sound financial basis that will enable the company to make the most of the improving market.

In addition, Flinter has transferred its interests in 12 vessels in an agreement with a group of shareholders.

Reinder van der Veen, CFO of Flinter, said: 'In the past few months, we have worked hard to find a good solution for shareholders, investors and banks. Now we can concentrate on our business operations again. The new agreements with our bankers safeguard the credit facilities for our fleet until 2012." 

In addition shareholders have agreed to swap their shares partly for cash and partly for shares in 12 vessels. Flinter will continue to operate and manage this part of the fleet. 

In the short term, Van der Veen sees many opportunities to extend the fleet under management. "We expect to see many changes in vessels ownership and management in the next couple of years. Our financial strength will enable us to take advantage of opportunities in this market.

The price of new vessels is another factor. Van der Veen says: Due to the drop in orders, shipyards are being forced to lower their prices. We are keen to explore new opportunities." 

Flinter's growth strategy remains unchanged and it wants to be among the top five in Europe in its sector within five years.

"Our sector as a whole has marked time," says Van der Veen. "Our financial stamina is better than average, so we are sticking to our top-5 ambition.' In April this year, the Flinter America was launched. Next month, its sister vessel Flinter Arctic will be christened at Ferus Smit Shipyards in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Like the Pioneer, which was completed in January, these multi-purpose vessels will be part of Flinter's new 11,000 tonne pool, expanding Flinter's service offering to existing and new customers.