Ridgebury Tankers LLC, a new tanker company focused on the acquisition and operation of vessels in the tanker sector, said April 11 that it has received a $200 million commitment from Riverstone Holdings LLC, an energy private investment firm, alongside a $5.7 million commitment from Ridgebury management. The Connecticut-based company will use the capital to acquire clean product carriers of all sizes and in the crude sector will focus primarily on Suezmax vessels.
Ridgebury is led by its founder and CEO, Bob Burke, who has been involved in the shipping industry for more than 30 years in a variety of capacities. His extensive executive shipping experience includes tanker operations, chartering activities for vessels, direct equity investments and financings, and the ownership and operational management of companies across several shipping sectors.
“Our strategy is to invest in modern tonnage either currently on the water or on resales of vessels that will enter service shortly,” said Burke. “We believe that the next 12 to 24 months will present an attractive entry point for investment in the sector. Although distressed opportunities may present themselves, our primary focus will be the pursuit of quality modern tonnage. We are not in a rush to invest, and we want to focus our efforts on opportunities with a high certainty of closing. With Riverstone’s equity commitment and sensible financial leverage, we believe we have a great opportunity to build a highly successful company in the tanker sector.”
In addition to Burke, the management team includes Kevin Bavolar as CFO, as well as Hew Crooks and Steve Fitzgerald. Burke, Bavolar, and Fitzgerald worked together at GE Capital, and Crooks worked with Burke at Great Circle Capital, a maritime equity investment fund. “In a small organization such as Ridgebury it is imperative to have a team that has worked together before,” said Bavolar.
John Lancaster, a partner at Riverstone added, “This investment is consistent with Riverstone’s model of partnering with proven management in focused strategies in specific segments of the energy industry. Crude oil and product tankers are an essential component of the rapidly evolving and critical global energy logistics system, and we believe the sector’s immediate and long-term fundamentals provide the potential for entry, growth and attractive returns. We are excited to partner with Bob and his team in this new venture.”
Riverstone is an energy and power-focused private investment firm founded in 2000 with about $24 billion of equity capital raised across seven investment funds, including the world’s largest renewable energy fund. Riverstone conducts buyout and growth capital investments in the midstream, exploration and production, oilfield services, power, and renewable sectors of the energy industry. With offices in New York, London, and Houston, the firm has committed approximately $21.6 billion to 97 investments in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.