LONDON, ENGLAND--(Marketwire - Feb. 10, 2009) - Global Ship Lease, Inc. (NYSE:GSL)(NYSE:GSL.U)(NYSE:GSL.WS) a rapidly growing containership charter owner, today announced the Company's Board of Directors has declared a fourth quarter dividend of $0.23 per Class A common share and unit and Class B common share. The dividend is payable on March 5, 2009 to Class A common shareholders and unit holders and Class B common shareholders of record on February 20, 2009.
Ian Webber, Chief Executive Officer of Global Ship Lease, commented, "We are pleased to have declared our fourth quarter dividend, the Company's third $0.23 distribution since going public in August of 2008. In response to the unprecedented volatility in the financial markets and in appraised ship values, we proactively approached our lenders in order to reduce our risk with respect to our loan to value maintenance covenant under the Company's credit facility. Working closely with our bank group, which has significant experience with ship lending, we have favorably amended our credit facility at attractive borrowing rates with modest upfront cost in a very challenging economic and financial environment. With the amended facility in place, Global Ship Lease has significantly reduced its exposure to pressures on ship valuations and enhanced its ability to continue providing shareholders with attractive dividends. The declaration of the fourth quarter distribution and the successful conclusion of our negotiations with our lenders further demonstrate the stability of our business model, which is focused on securing all of our vessels on long-term fixed rate contracts to generate stable and predictable cash flows."
Under terms of the Company's amended $800 million credit agreement, Global Ship Lease has obtained significant relief with respect to its loan to value maintenance covenant. Specifically, the allowed ratio of borrowings to ship values will be increased to a maximum of 100%, from 75% previously, applicable for each of the test dates commencing with the next which is due April 30, 2009 up to and including the test due on April 30, 2010. During this period, the Company will have no restrictions on its ability to distribute dividends unless the loan to value ratio exceeds 90%, at which point, Global Ship Lease will be required to place 50% of its quarterly cash available for distribution in a pledged account. The pledged account would be released back to the Company if loan to value falls back below 90% during a subsequent valuation period. As part of the amended facility, the Company has agreed to increase the margin of interest paid on the existing loan to value pricing grid by 50 basis points, and the grid has been extended to accommodate higher loan to value ratios. The facility will now bear an interest margin ranging from 1.25% to 2.75% over LIBOR, depending on loan to value. In addition, the commitment fee will increase to 0.50% from 0.25% and the maximum availability under the credit facility will begin to amortize from December 2011 rather than December 2012 previously.
About Global Ship Lease
Global Ship Lease is a rapidly growing containership charter owner. Incorporated in the Marshall Islands, Global Ship Lease commenced operations in December 2007 with a business of owning and chartering out containerships under long-term, fixed rate charters to world class container liner companies.
Global Ship Lease currently owns 16 vessels and has contracted to purchase an additional three vessels. The Company has a contract in place to purchase an additional vessel for $82 million from CMA CGM, which is expected to be delivered in July of 2009 and also has contracts in place to purchase two newbuildings from German interests for approximately $77 million each which are scheduled to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Once all of the contracted vessels have been delivered by the end of 2010, Global Ship Lease will have a 19 vessel fleet with total capacity of 74,797 TEU and a weighted average age at that time of 7.4 years and an average remaining charter term of approximately eight years. All of the vessels including those contracted for future delivery are fixed on long-term charters.
Safe Harbor Statement
This communication contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements provide Global Ship Lease's current expectations or forecasts of future events. Forward-looking statements include statements about Global Ship Lease's expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, intentions, assumptions and other statements that are not historical facts. Words or phrases such as "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "ongoing," "plan," "potential," "predict," "project," "will" or similar words or phrases, or the negatives of those words or phrases, may identify forward-looking statements, but the absence of these words does not necessarily mean that a statement is not forward-looking. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions that may be incorrect, and Global Ship Lease cannot assure you that these projections included in these forward-looking statements will come to pass. Actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors.
The risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to:
- future operating or financial results;
- expectations regarding the strength of the future growth of the shipping industry, including the rate of annual demand growth in the international containership industry;
- future payments of dividends and the availability of cash for payment of dividends;
- Global Ship Lease's expectations relating to dividend payments and forecasts of its ability to make such payments;
- future acquisitions, business strategy and expected capital spending;
- operating expenses, availability of crew, number of off-hire days, drydocking and survey requirements and insurance costs;
- general market conditions and shipping industry trends, including charter rates and factors affecting supply and demand;
- Global Ship Lease's ability to repay its credit facility and grow using the available funds under its credit facility;
- assumptions regarding interest rates and inflation;
- change in the rate of growth of global and various regional economies;
- risks incidental to vessel operation, including discharge of pollutants and vessel collisions;
- Global Ship Lease's financial condition and liquidity, including its ability to obtain additional financing in the future to fund capital expenditures, acquisitions and other general corporate activities;
- estimated future capital expenditures needed to preserve its capital base;
- Global Ship Lease's expectations about the availability of ships to purchase, the time that it may take to construct new ships, or the useful lives of its ships;
- Global Ship Lease's continued ability to enter into long-term, fixed-rate charters;
- Global Ship Lease's ability to capitalize on its management team's and board of directors' relationships and reputations in the containership industry to its advantage;
- changes in governmental and classification societies' rules and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities;
- expectations about the availability of insurance on commercially reasonable terms;
- unanticipated changes in laws and regulations; and
- potential liability from future litigation.
Forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are based on potentially inaccurate assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expected or implied by the forward-looking statements. Global Ship Lease's actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in forward-looking statements for many reasons specifically as described in Global Ship Lease's filings with the SEC. Accordingly, you should not unduly rely on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this communication. Global Ship Lease undertakes no obligation to publicly revise any forward-looking statement to reflect circumstances or events after the date of this communication or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should, however, review the factors and risks Global Ship Lease describes in the reports it will file from time to time with the SEC after the date of this communication.
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