John Fredriksen was born on 10 May 1944, in Oslo, Norway, but holds a Cypriot passport and lives in London. Fredriksen is best known for owning the largest oil-tanker fleet of ships in the world. Forbes magazine ranks John as the richest Cypriot person, and the 120th richest in the world.
So just how rich is John Fredriksen? Forbes estimates that John’s net worth is over $10 billion, the vast majority of his wealth having been accumulated through his extensive shipping business.
John Fredriksen Net Worth $10 Billion
Fredriksen made his fortune during the Iran-Iraq wars in the 1980s, when his tankers picked up oil at great risk and huge profits. However, Fredriksen had got his start in the shipping industry at a young age as a courier with a shipbroker in the Oslo, before going on to work for himself. Fredriksen left his home in the 1960s to pursue a career in trading, working in New York, Athens and Singapore. Fredriksen purchased his first freighter in 1973 for $700,000, however, it broke down soon after he bought it.
Regardless, Fredriksen went on to build the world’s largest fleet of oil tankers, operated through his publicly traded company, Frontlinei, which s listed on the New York Stock Exchange (FRO), London Stock Exchange (FRO) and Oslo Stock Exchange (FRO). Fredriksen is also Chairman, President and Director of Golar LNG, another publicly traded company specialising in ship transport begun in 2001 and listed on the Nasdaq (GLNG).
Fredriksen’s most recent financial successes come primarily from SeaDrill, an offshore deep-water drilling company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (SDRL), and the Oslo Stock Exchange (SDRL) that he founded in 2005, with its headquarters in Bermuda and operations extending into 15 countries. SeaDrill’s profits continue to rise because of its reputation for safe and cost-effective drilling, but its Asian unit was recently sold in a deal worth $3 billion to fund expansion into other deep-water drilling operations.
Recent years have seen Frontline face some financial struggles. However, Fredriksen announced in late 2011 that he would personally bail out Frontline, later breaking the company into two separate entities: Frontline and Frontline 2012. Frontline 2012 holds many of the former Frontline’s newest ships, and much of the old entity’s debt as well.
John Fredriksen’s fortune continues to grow, as he has saved money when the shipping and drilling industry was booming, and so can sustain his companies through problems faced in recent years. His other companies include Deep Sea Supply, Fred Olsen Production, Marine Harvest and Golden Ocean, among numerous others, about half of are publicly traded.
John Fredriksen has also retained investors because his companies pay large dividends when times are good, and because of his timing in entering or exiting a market. Fredriksen believes in sharing with investors, and treating them fairly: if he gets paid, so do the investors.
Fredriksen’s recent investments surround the dropping prices of drilling rigs and shipping vessels,a s a result of the recent economic decline. The prices of shipping vessels coming out of China and South Korea are currently sitting at about half of what they were at in 2007.
As John Fredriksen owns a lot of oil tankers, shares in Frontline have risen, ending a period of poor performance since low charter rates forced him in 2012 to support the company with a $500 million equity injection and split it into two. He also sold most of his stake in LNG shipper Golar for $1.8 billion, added $900 million on the sale of Aktiv Capital, took over another LNG shipper FlexLNG, launched a tender offer for real estate company Norwegian Properties, and is planning a merger of bulk shippers Golden Ocean and Knightsbridge. Sitting on cash thought to be at least $4 billion, one wonders what Fredriksen will do next.
In his personal life, John Fredriksen’s wife Inger Astrup Fredriksen passed away in 2006, leaving him with two capable daughters named Cecilie and Kathrine, both of whom sit on the boards for Frontline, SeaDrill and Golar, and are heirs to their father’s financial empire. Fredriksen lives in London,and owns houses in Oslo, Cyprus, and Marbella, Spain. He favourite pastime is collecting classic Norwegian art.
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