zoomImage Courtesy: Euronav Belgian tanker owner and operator Euronav NV has secured USD 173.6 million credit facility for its Ice Class Suezmax quartet set to be delivered this year.The loan was signed at the end of March with Kexim, BNP and Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment bank.The financing deal coincides with the delivery of the company’s first Suezmax from the batch, the Cap Quebec, from Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). The 156,600 dwt newbuild has started a seven-year contract with an unnamed refinery player. When taking delivery of the ship, the company paid USD 45.5 million and a total of USD 12.4 million worth of installments to support the construction of the three remaining Suezmaxes, to be handed over by September this year. The remaining capex for these vessels is USD 130 million.Euronav has also secured a USD 220 senior secured credit facility with TI Asia and TI Africa. The facility consists of a term loan of USD 110 million and a revolving loan of USD 110 million, which will be used for refinancing Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) duo.The company said that it retained around USD 817 million of liquidity as at the end of March 2018.Q1 PerformanceThe lingering difficult market conditions in the tanker sector have pushed Belgian tanker company further into a net loss in the first quarter of 2018.The company booked a loss of USD 39.1 million in the first three months of this year, a major drop when compared to the corresponding period in 2017 when it posted a profit of USD 34.3 million.Proportionate EBITDA for the same period was USD 30.7 million, also down from last year’s USD 106.1 million.“Oil demand has been consistently upgraded over the past six months which along with increased levels of recycling (21 VLCC YTD) are encouraging developments for all tanker operators. However, the rebalancing of the tanker market requires further affirmative action in reducing primarily older tonnage, restraint from contracting and a supportive oil price structure. “Freight rates will remain under pressure until this process of rebalancing is much further advanced. Euronav retains both now and going forward substantial balance sheet capacity and fixed income visibility to navigate through such periods and remains confident on the medium-term trends for the crude tanker market,” Paddy Rodgers, CEO of Euronav, said.