Dear fellow shareholders,
The ADS Page has just been delivered to her new owners, following her sisters ADS Stratus and ADS Serenade. Three ships down, zero to go.
Our investment in these three VLCCs returned solid profits, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share some thoughts on how we got here and where we may go in the future.
Why did we sell?
The simple answer is that we wanted to lock in a profit for you, rather than risk losing it all in a “double or nothing” bet. We had the opportunity to sell at what we considered to be good prices — tomorrow that opportunity may have gone.
At the time of the sales, our ships had 17–22 months left of their economic lives. If we were to generate the same amount of cash through further trading of the ships compared to selling them, we would have needed to achieve historically high freight rates and considerably higher than the very low levels we’re now witnessing as this letter is being written. We know that the tanker market is very volatile and always has the potential to skyrocket again next week or next month. Even so, we didn’t consider the risk-reward balance to be in our favor and we decided to cash out our chips.
What are we doing with the proceeds?
Our intention is to pay out all of the net cash from these sales as well as most of the cash accumulated in the Company to you, through maximized dividends and a return of share capital. The latter will require your consent, and an EGM will be called to get your votes. If the EGM decides to follow the board’s recommendation, those who invested when the company was established in 2018 will have received significantly more than they originally put in without having to time an exit from the market.
What’s next for ADS?
ADS is a very lean company, which will enable us to keep the lights on whilst scanning the horizon for new opportunities. Our investing philosophy can be described as a “barbell” where we target:
- Counter-cyclical investments, with quality ships bought at low prices (at a significant discount to new building parity). We prefer liquid assets (i.e. tankers and bulkers) and larger ships as they have greater upside than smaller ships when the market improves. Patience, competence, and the ability to move quickly are vital ingredients in the recipe for success on these investments.
- Projects with long-term secured cashflow and low residual risk, with solid returns on equity. This could be in projects where we — perhaps through partnerships — have a competitive advantage. Such opportunities are rare, but they happen.
We don’t take our role as stewards of your capital lightly. Investment decisions will always be made as if it was all our own capital on the line. Our cardinal rule is simple: don’t lose money! The best downside protection is to be disciplined by not overpaying for an asset and being conservative when forecasting out its residual value.
Since we will now empty our bank accounts by sending all free cash to you, only holding onto enough for us to meet possible transaction cost obligations, we will naturally need to come back to the market for fresh capital when the next opportunity arises.
Until then, thank you for your support and trust. We look forward to sending you a cheque or two and hope to see you onboard again in the future.
Bjørn Tore Larsen