Photo credit: Aman Kapoor, Sirocco
Avance Gas was formed in 2007 as a subsidiary of Stolt-Nielsen to participate in the fast growing LPG market.
2016 marked the first full year of operations for all 14 of the VLGCs in the Avance Gas fleet. All vessels show excellent technical performance. In October, the Company raised $58.7 million in a private placement and subsequent offering, issuing 29.5 million new shares. In December the LNG carrier, Gaea, was sold.
During 2015 the Company completed it’s newbuilding program. In January 2015, Avance Gas took delivery of Mistral and Monsoon, the first two of its eight 83,000 cbm VLGC newbuildings from Jiangnan Shipyard in China. Breeze was delivered in April, followed by Passat, Sirocco, Levant, Chinook and Pampero, one each month between June and October. The Avance Gas fleet now consists of 14 modern VLGCs, with a total capacity of 1.17 million cbm. In July 2015 Avance Gas acquired a 1980 built LNG carrier, Gaea with plans to explore the use of the ship in commercial LPG projects.
On April 9, 2014, an initial public offering of Avance Gas shares was completed, raising $100 million from the issuance of new shares. Avance Gas’ three largest shareholders—Stolt-Nielsen Gas Ltd, Sungas Holdings Ltd and Frontline 2012 Ltd—simultaneously sold shares with an total aggregate value of $175 million, including over-allotment options. Trading of Avance Gas shares commenced on the Oslo Stock Exchange on April 15, 2014. During 2014, Avance Gas also completed the financing of its newbuilding program by raising a total of $650 million from a consortium of eight large shipping banks, underscoring the market’s confidence in the Company’s business strategy.
In 2013, Transpetrol Holdings Ltd exercised an option to withdraw as an owner of Avance Gas, essentially through a reversal of the original transaction, leaving Stolt-Nielsen Gas Ltd and Sungas Holdings Ltd as equal owners. Shortly thereafter Frontline 2012 Ltd entered as a new shareholder of Avance Gas through a cash investment. In addition, Avance Gas agreed to purchase eight VLGC newbuildings—previously ordered by Frontline 2012 Ltd from Jiangnan Shipyard in China—for $75 million per ship. The acquisition was in part financed by a $100 million private equity placement, through which Avance Gas was listed on the Norwegian Over-the-Counter (“N-OTC”). Subsequent to this event, Stolt-Nielsen Gas Ltd and Sungas Holdings Ltd each held approximately 26% of Avance Gas’ shares outstanding, with Frontline 2012 Ltd holding approximately 23%.
In 2011, the VLGC market began to strengthen. That momentum carried into 2012, when Avance Gas acquired the VLGCs Prospect and Progress from Transpetrol Holdings Ltd., which then became a one-third owner of Avance Gas. In addition, Avance Gas acquired Maran Gas Knossos and Maran Gas Vergina from Maran Gas Maritime, Inc. in a cash transaction, now named Promise and Providence. The fleet now stood at eight VLGCs, following the expiry of the Yuhsho and Navigator Taurus timecharters.
In exchange for 50% ownership in the Company, Sungas Holding Ltd sold three 2008 built VLGCs to the Avance Gas fleet: Iris Glory, Thetis Glory and Venus Glory. Navigator Taurus, a medium sized gas carrier, was also taken on timecharter in 2010, bringing the fleet up to a total of six ships.
The company entered the market in 2009 with a three-year timecharter of the VLGC Yuhsho, followed by the acquisition of the 2003-built VLGC Althea Gas, subsequently renamed Stolt Avance, today named Avance. Avance Gas Holding Ltd was established.
Avance Gas traces it's roots to 2007 and creation of Stolt-Nielsen Gas Ltd. The goal of Stolt-Nielsen Gas Ltd was “to pursue growth opportunities in the expanding market for the transportation of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).”