Exactly one year after stepping back as CEO in Frontline Management, owned by shipping magnate John Frederiksen, and immediately after the merger of Fredriksen's two tanker carriers, Jens Martin Jensen has left the company with immediate effect on December 1st.
When ShippingWatch catches Jens Martin Jensen on the phone, he is sitting at his home in London looking into his yard. One year has passed since he was replaced as CEO by Robert Hvide Macleod, and the decision to step down entirely is completely his own, he says.
"I think that, with the merger of the two companies, this is a good time to call it quits and do something else," he says.
"It's a great company with a good fleet in the water, a growing market and an interesting orderbook. It's a good time to stop, when the market is good and everything is handed over in sound condition."
Jens Martin Jensen does not have anything specific set up at this time. Right now he is looking forward to a long Christmas break in Denmark and to taking some time off, as he says. But this does not mean that he is done with shipping. Far from it.
"I'll continue to work in shipping. There's no doubt about that. My heart beats for shipping. I don't have anything concrete planned at this time. But it'll come. Probably in tanker or bulk."
In July, Norwegian-born shipowner John Fredriksen announced that the anticipated merger between Frontline 2012 and Frontline would be realized. As such, John Fredriksen seems on track to reclaim his position as one of the world's leading shipowners in crude oil transports and product tanker - a move predicted by numerous analysts.
"By merging Frontline and Frontline 2012 we will regain Frontline's position as a leading tanker company. The combined company will have a large fleet and a strong balance sheet which puts us in a position to gain further market share through acquisitions and consolidation opportunities," says John Fredriksen in a comment on the transaction:
"With the current strong tanker market and attractive cash break even rates, we believe the combined company will generate significant free cash."
Both Frontline and Frontline 2012 delivered strong results for the third quarter, which also represents the two carriers' final quarter as independent companies. Frontline finished the third quarter with a net profit of USD 17.5 million against a deficit of USD 64.3 million in the same period 2014, and a revenue of USD 121.5 million, compared to USD 135.6 million last year.
Frontline 2012, which in 2011 acquired virtually all of Frontline's newbuildings, delivered a net profit of USD 61.8 million in the quarter, up from USD 59.0 in the third quarter 2014. Revenue here came to USD 107.4 million against USD 52.2 million in the same period 2014.
Jens Martin Jensen resigned as CEO just over a year ago and he was replaced by Robert Hvide Macleod, who led the final sprint towards the merger of the two tanker carriers. The changeover saw Jensen accept a new position in Frontline, as the board phrased it. Over the last year, he has been responsible for buying, selling and other activities in Frontline, as he was also elected to the board in September last year.