With “Dynasites of the Sea” being officially released on November 12th, I will be releasing chapter excerpts of some of the 21 shipping leaders I interviewed in the book. I am so excited to share some of my book with you 🙂 The first excerpt is with John Fredriksen, the world’s largest private shipowner. With nicknames like the “Big Wolf” and the “Viking King” Fredriksen offered his candid assessment of the industry and his approach to shipping domination in his classic, heavy Norweigen accent:
Dynasties of the Sea Excerpt:
(any replication needs to have permission from Marine Money International)
The Secrets of Success
Fredriksen’s takeover spree would provide him with more than just attractively priced tankers; it would establish his remarkable reputation in the capital markets for playing on equal footing, both in terms of giving outsiders access to the best deals and by risking his own money alongside that of his investors. This alignment of interest would become one of the keys to his success. “When you are risking your own money, you look at things differently,” he said. “If you want to go public, you really need to conduct your business like a private company so you avoid unnecessary risk-taking.”
While Fredriksen has been able to raise billions of dollars in the capital markets, he has also managed to maintain very close control over his dozen public companies. “Being able to make quick decisions is very important to success in this business.”
Unwilling to sit still while waiting for opportunities to develop in the crude oil tanker market, Fredriksen expanded his field of vision to include multiple energy-related maritime pursuits, from oil rigs to LNG carriers, and empowered a talented team of professionals to scour the world, ready to take advantage of every opportunity.
Success and Leadership
When asked about the quality of shipping leadership today, Fredriksen paused before circling back to a familiar theme. “I think there are very few people doing it right these days. I always really admired Sammy Ofer,” he said of the Israeli shipping and real estate magnate who died in 2011 at the age of 89. “In general, the ones who are doing it right are private owners such as John Angelicoussis, and organizations like AP Moller, who own the ships and represent themselves. These are the best operators today.”
Fredriksen also credits his success with the ability to do deals at a moment’s notice. “If there is a good deal, we will do it right now. What might take a public company a year to make a decision about, we can decide on in an hour; I once bought a drilling rig for close to $650 million having discussed it for three minutes over lunch,” he said with a laugh.