John Fredriksen, Norway’s biggest shipowner and one of the richest men on the planet, will consider moving back to Norway if elections in September result in a change of government. “Big John”, who years ago traded his Norwegian passport for a Cyprus one, told Dagbladet that he hopes the non-socialists will win the elections.
If the conservatives form a new government under Erna Solberg, it could mean the end of Fredriksen’s voluntary exile.
“In that case, I’ll consider moving home”, he reportedly told Dagbladet.
Fredriksen made one of his rare appearances onboard the tall ship Christian Radich, scene of an traditional party organised by shipping weekly TradeWinds during Nor-Shipping business fair.
According to a recent ranking by Bloomberg, Frediksen is now the world’s 59th richest man, with a fortune estimated to USD 14,8 billion. And that’s despite sluggish markets for his crude oil tankers.
Fredriksen is a self-made tycoon who built his fortune on risky oil tanker operations during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. He owns the largest tanker fleet in the world, in addition to other kinds of vessels. He also active in fish farming, travel and other industries.
Fredriksen has been pessimistic about prospects for the crude oil tanker market for quite some time, and told dn.no on Wednesday that he still is.
“I believe tank will remain poor for a couple of years more, particularly for crude oil carriers. For special- and liquid products, things are actually quite good now, he told Dagens Næringsliv‘s website dn.no, and confirmed that he has positioned himself in those markets. One of his two tank operations, Frontline 2012, has ordered 16 such product tankers, with eight of them to be delivered this year.
“We also have a bit of newbuilding in gas (tankers) that we’re strong believers in,” he said.
Fredriksen also said he believes good times will return to bulk trades before they reach tank.
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