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Ship Finance International (SFL) Q4 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

By Motley Fool Transcribing - Feb 17, 2021 at 8:30PM

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SFL earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2020.

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Ship Finance International (SFL 4.92%)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Feb 17, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon, and welcome to the Q4 2020 SFL Corporation earnings conference call. [Operator instructions] I would now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Mr. Ole Hjertaker. Please go ahead.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, and welcome all to SFL's fourth-quarter conference call. I will start the call by briefly going through the highlights of the quarter. And following that, our CFO, Aksel Olesen, will take us through the financials. And the call will then be concluded by opening up for questions where our chief operating officer, Trym Sjolie, will also participate.

Before we begin our presentation, I would like to note that this conference call will contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as expects, anticipates, intends, estimates, or similar expressions are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance.

These statements are based on our current plans and expectations and are inherently subject to risks and uncertainty that could cause future activities and results of operations to be materially different from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ include, but are not limited to, conditions in the shipping, offshore, and credit market. You should, therefore, not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. Please refer to our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for more detailed discussions of risks and uncertainties, which may have a direct bearing on our operating results and our financial condition.

The announced dividend of $0.15 per share represents a dividend yield of more than 7% based on closing price yesterday, and this is our 68th quarterly dividend payment. In light of the continued uncertainty surrounding Seadrill and outcome of their Chapter 11 restructuring, the board adjusted the dividend to $0.15 last quarter and effectively then excluded all contribution from offshore assets for the time being. Over the years, we have paid more than $27 per share in dividends or $2.3 billion in total, and we have a significant fixed-rate charter backlog supported continued dividend capacity going forward. The total charter revenues was $144 million in the quarter, with more than 90% of this from vessels on long-term charters and less than 10% from vessels employed on short-term charters and in the spot market.

The EBITDA equivalent cash flow in the quarter was approximately $106 million, and last 12 months, the EBITDA equivalent has been approximately $464 million. We recorded a significant impairment in the quarter relating to an idle drilling rig, which was taken down to scrap value in order to be conservative. But cash flow from our other assets were not impacted by the offshore market situation and the free cash flow from other assets were well above the distribution capacity with a good margin in the quarter. Despite prepaying more than $100 million on an offshore-related financing in the quarter, the consolidated cash position at quarter-end was more than $200 million.

And in addition, we had nearly $30 million in marketable securities. Our fixed-rate backlog, excluding anything from the drilling rigs, stands at approximately $2.3 billion from owned and managed vessels after recent charter extensions and vessel transactions, providing significant cash flow visibility going forward. And the backlog excludes revenues from 16 vessels traded in the short-term market and also excludes any future profit share optionality. The profit share does contribute optionality value for us and in the fourth quarter, it accumulated to more than $5 million.

The last quarter, it was primarily relating to the two VLCCs on charter to Frontline, but going forward, we expect a relatively higher contribution from fuel savings of container vessels with scrubbers in light of increasing fuel price and fuel spreads. With a strengthening dry bulk market, we can also hope for some positive contribution from profit share on Capesize bulkers as well. During the last few months, we strengthened our balance sheet and investment capacity by raising nearly $50 million through share issuance. This, combined with other initiatives, has, in reality, fully restored our investment capacity despite the prepayment of more than $100 million on an offshore drilling rig, as mentioned earlier, and there are no immediate plans to raise more equity.

At the end of the fourth quarter, we also sold a 50.1% stake in a subsidiary, which leases out four large 19,000 TEU container vessels to MSC. The purchaser was an entity affiliated with Hemen Holdings, our largest shareholder. The purchase price was approximately $17.5 million, and in effect, the transaction -- an effect of the transaction was that the assets and associated debt were reclassified as equity account debt and therefore, slimmed the gross balance sheet. Our equity ratio increased, while the estimated net reduction in SFL's distributable cash flow from these assets is limited to only approximately $700,000 per quarter as a large portion of our invested capital is an interest-bearing intercompany loan, which remains unchanged.

As previously announced, Seadrill and most of its subsidiaries filed Chapter 11 cases in Texas last week. We have entered into agreements relating to two of our drilling rigs, where we will receive approximately 75% of the lease hire under the existing charter agreements for West Linus and West Hercules for the time being. The agreed amounts are sufficient to cover SFL's debt service relating to the rigs. These agreements will ensure uninterrupted performance on the sub-charters to the oil major where Seadrill will be allowed to use funds received from the respective sub-charter to pay a fixed level of operating and maintenance expenses.

With regard to the rig West Taurus, the lease is expected to be rejected and the rig redelivered to SFL. This rig is now debt-free and has been held in lay-up by Seadrill for more than five years, and SFL is currently evaluating strategic alternatives for the rig, including potential recycling at the European Union-approved green recycling facility. The harsh-environment jack-up rig West Linus is sub-chartered to an oil major until the end of 2028, while the harsh-environment semisubmersible rig West Hercules is employed on consecutive sub-charters to an oil major in the North Sea. While no insurances can be provided with regards to the outcome of the Seadrill's Chapter 11 proceedings, SFL continues to have constructive dialogue with Seadrill and their relative financing banks to find a long-term solution for the West Linus and West Hercules.

We can, unfortunately, not make any further comments to relating to the rigs and the pending restructuring. But our objective is, as always, to maximize long-term value for our stakeholders. Excluding the drilling rigs, the backlog from owned and managed shipping assets was $2.3 billion at the end of the fourth quarter. Over the years, we have changed both fleet composition and structure and we now have 81 shipping assets in our portfolio and no vessels remaining from the initial fleet back from 2004.

We have gone from a single asset class charter to one single customer to our diversified fleet and multiple counterparties. And over time, the mix of the charter backlog has varied from 100% tankers to nearly 60% offshore at one stage to container being the far largest segment right now. In addition, we have 16 vessels traded in the short-term market, which we define as up to 12-month charters and also, from time to time, significant contribution from profit share, as discussed earlier. We do not have a set mix in the portfolio, focuses on evaluating deal opportunities across the segments, and try to do the right transactions from a risk-reward perspective.

Over time, we believe this will balance itself out, but we try to be careful and conservative in our investments and not invest just because money is burning in our pockets. Our strategy has been to maintain a strong technical and commercial operating platform in cooperations with our sister companies in the Seatankers Group. This gives us the ability to offer a wider range of services to our customer from effectively structured financing to full-service time charters. But more importantly, we also believe it gives us unique access to deal flow in our core segments.

And with full control over vessel maintenance and performance, including energy efficiency and emission minimizing efforts, we can impact improvements to our vessels through the life of the assets and not only be passively owning vessels employed on where the customer may not always have an incentive to make such improvements. We do, of course, closely follow the various developments in new propulsion technology and other initiatives to reduce or eliminate carbon footprint by commercial vessels and to ensure that our asset portfolio remain competitive in the long run. And with that, I will give the word over to our CFO, Aksel Olesen, who will take us through the financial highlights for the quarter.

Aksel Olesen -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Mr. Hjertaker. On this slide, we have shown our pro forma illustration of cash flows for the fourth quarter. Please note that this is only a guideline to assess the company's performance and is not in accordance with U.S.

GAAP and also net of extraordinary and non-cash items. The company generated gross charter hire of approximately $144 million in the fourth quarter with more than 90% of the revenue coming from our fixed charter rate backlog, which currently stands at $2.3 billion, providing us with strong visibility on our cash flow going forward. During the quarter, the liner fleet generated gross charter hire of approximately $82 million, including $1.9 million in profit split contribution related to fuel savings on some of our large container vessels. Of this amount, approximately 95% was derived from our vessels on long-term charters.

At the end of the quarter, SFL's liner fleet backlog was approximately $1.7 billion, with an average remaining charter term of approximately four years or approximately seven years if weighted by charter revenue. Approximately 85% of the liner backlog is the world's largest liner operators, Maersk Line and MSC, with a balance of approximately 15% to Evergreen. Our tanker fleet generated approximately $19 million in gross charter hire. And the VLCCs charter to Frontline shipping generated $7.1 million, including $3.5 million in profit-based contribution.

And during 2020, the total profit share contribution from these assets was $18.6 million. Furthermore, the net charter hire from the company's two Suezmax tankers employed in the short-term market was approximately $1.6 million in the quarter. And in November, the company redelivered the last VLCC to Hunter Group. And after repayment of the associated financing, the transaction increased SFL's cash balance of approximately $10.7 million.

During the quarter, our dry bulk fleet generated approximately $27 million in gross charter hire and of this amount, approximately 70% was derived from our vessels on long-term charters. During the quarter, the company had 10 Handysize vessels employed in the spot and short-term markets. And the vessels generated approximately $6.4 million in net charter hire, compared to $7 million in the previous quarter. SFL owns three drilling rigs, which have been charted out of subsidiaries of Seadrill.

In the fourth quarter, we received charter hire of approximately $16.3 million. Subsequent to quarter-end, SFL entered into certain agreements relating to our drilling rigs, subject to final court approval. While the West Taurus will be redelivered to SFL, the West Hercules and West Linus will continue their employment with Seadrill in order to ensure uninterrupted performance on the sub-charters to oil majors. This summarizes to an adjusted EBITDA of approximately $106 million for the fourth quarter or $0.91 per share.

We then move on to the profit and loss statement as reported under U.S. GAAP. As we have described in previous earnings calls, our accounting statements are different from those of a traditional shipping company. And as our business strategy focuses on long-term charter contracts, a large part of our activities are classified as capital leasing.

As a result, a significant portion of our charter revenues are excluded from U.S. GAAP operating revenues and instead booked as revenues classified as repayment of investment in finance leases and vessel loans, results in associates and long-term investments and interest income from associates. So for the fourth quarter, we report total operating revenues according to U.S. GAAP of approximately $115 million, which is less than approximately $144 million of charter hire actually received for reasons just mentioned.

During the quarter, the company recorded profit split income of $3.5 million from our tanker vessels on charter to Frontline and $1.9 million from profit split arrangements related to fuel savings on some of our large containers. The company also recorded nonrecurring and noncash items during the quarter, including a positive mark-to-market effect relating to hedging derivatives of $3.4 million, a negative mark-to-market effect relating to equity and debt investments of $4.2 million, a gain of $5.6 million from charter termination and sale of subsidiaries, in addition to increasing the credit loss provisions with $2.8 million. Furthermore, the company recorded a gross impairment of $252.6 million on the drilling rig West Taurus, partly offset by debt extinguishment effect of $66.1 million, after associated debt was repurchased at a discount, implying a net impairment of approximately $187 million. So overall, and according to U.S.

GAAP, the company reported a net loss of $165 million or $1.49 per share. Moving on to the balance sheet. At quarter-end, SFL had approximately $215 million of cash and cash equivalents excluding approximately $3.4 million of cash held in wholly owned nonconsolidated subsidiaries. Furthermore, the company had marketable securities of approximately $29 million, based on market prices at the end of the quarter.

Also, SFL had five debt-free vessels and a rig with a combined charter-free market value of approximately $46 million based on broker appraisals. In our last quarterly call, we mentioned that ADS Crude Carriers where SFL's approximately 17% had sold all their vessels at attractive prices, and the net proceeds from the sale will be distributed to the shareholders. Distribution has now been approved, and as a result, SFL expects to receive a dividend of approximately $9 million during the first quarter. The subsidiaries owning the drilling rigs West Hercules, West Linus, and West Taurus have previously been accounted for as investments in associates, applying the equity method and in accordance with U.S.

GAAP. These equity-accounted subsidiaries are wholly owned by SFL, but the result of the accounting treatment, operating revenues, operating expenses, and net interest expenses in these subsidiaries were not included in SFL's consolidated income statement. Instead, net contribution from these subsidiaries was recognized as a combination of interest income from associates and results in associates. During the fourth quarter, the subsidiaries owning the rigs West Taurus and West Linus reassessed and fully consolidated also, among other things, changes to certain financing terms relating to the assets.

Consequently, from the time of consolidation at the end of October 2020, all revenues earned and costs incurred was accounted for as operating items in the consolidated income statement of SFL. And concurrently, the balance sheet of SFL Deepwater and SFL Linus were fully consolidated into the consolidated balance sheet of SFL. And based on the fourth-quarter figures, the company had a book equity ratio of approximately 26%. Then to summarize, the board has declared a cash dividend of $0.15 per share for the quarter, which represents a dividend yield of approximately 7.4% based on the closing share price yesterday.

This is the 68th consecutive quarterly dividend, and since inception of the company in 2004, more than $27 per share or $2.3 billion in aggregate have been returned to shareholders through dividends. And while we continue to collect revenue from our fixed chart rate backlog, we also upside from profit split arrangements from our VLCCs and Capesize vessels, in addition to profit split arrangements related to fuel savings on some of our large container vessels. We have added more than $230 million to our fixed charter rate backlog the last 12 months. And we actively continue to explore new business opportunities, with particular focus on investments in assets with a lower carbon footprint in order to position our portfolio for the future.

And with that, I give the word back to the operator, who will open the line for questions.

Questions & Answers:


Operator

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, as we now are beginning the question-and-answer session. [Operator instructions] Our first question today comes from the line of Randy Giveans from Jefferies. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

Randy Giveans -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hi, gentlemen. How's it going?

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Good. Thank you.

Aksel Olesen -- Chief Financial Officer

Good. Thank you.

Randy Giveans -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Excellent. All right. So I guess looking at kind of the balance sheet and your fleet, you raised around $50 million in the share sales. So what kind of acquisition target are you looking at here in the near term, maybe what sector or subsector? And then also any plans for refinancing the convertible notes maturing later this year?

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Thanks. Yes. So what we have done, we did, as you know, prepay the loan relating to the West Taurus in the fourth quarter. And we have effectively replenished that investment capacity and we now have more cash than we had in the third quarter before we prepaid more than $100 million on that unit.

So that in itself, you could say, is also an illustration of the cash flow generation capacity in the company in addition to the somewhat less than $50 million we raised in the market. We have, also in 2020, continuously looked at opportunities, acquisition opportunities. We have been, of course, a little extra careful, I would say, because there has been uncertainty through the year, what would unfold relating to our drilling rigs and the charters to Seadrill. I think now there is more visibility.

They have filed for Chapter 11. We have a robust liquidity. And we'll, of course, continue to look at opportunities. We generally don't guide specifically on segments.

We are looking at many, many segments. I would say where we are maybe reluctant offshore, and naturally, I would say, oil product-related, we are also hesitant on. But it's all about finding the right combination of risk-reward and also from a, call it, carbon footprint perspective, where we think that we will come over the years as we develop the company going forward. So, unfortunately, no specifics, but we remain, call it, focused on adding new transactions.

And hopefully, in 2021, there will be deals for you to look at.

Randy Giveans -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Sure, sure. OK. And then with that, on the convertible notes, any color there?

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Sorry, yes, I forgot to comment on that. Yes, of course, we know that is coming due in October. So still many months until that. We have a decent cash position as it is.

And we believe the capital markets are there and available. So we think that there is ample time to address that in due course and certainly well ahead of the final maturity.

Randy Giveans -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Got it. OK. And then obviously, on the containership side, that market's been very strong, and you don't have much in terms of spot exposure. Most of your vessels are on long-term charters.

But on dry bulk, right, that is certainly a sector that we've seen significant strength here just in the last few weeks. Then you have a decent amount of short-term or spot-exposed vessels. With that, do you plan on continuing to operate those Handysizes, Supramaxes, what have you, in the spot market? Or looking to lock in some time charters here with the strong rates?

Trym Sjolie

Yes, Trym Sjolie speaking now. Thank you for the question. I mean, being exposed to the spot market right now is quite positive as we see it. We have three of the Supras and seven of the Handys, sort of more or less spot-based with only short contracts, which means that we will take full -- we will enjoy a pretty hot spot market at the moment.

I mean, the Handysize market this week is almost at about 14,000-plus per day. So it's really looking good. We may, of course, lock in some vessels on some longer charters, I mean, up to a year or so, but it sort of depends. We are comfortable staying in the spot market short term with these vessels for now.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

But adding to that, of course, as of the more of our long-term business philosophy, our focus is typically longer-term charters. So we are sort of waiting to see how this market now plays out. And if we cannot sort of secure really long-term charters also on these assets, we will eventually, call it, divest them and reinvest in assets where we can get that cash flow visibility. And also, we hope to get some profit split from our eight Capes on charter to Golden Ocean as the market seem quite firm for the time being.

Randy Giveans -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Got it. That makes sense. All right. And I guess last quick modeling question.

I saw the other financial items gain of $72 million, what did that consist of?

Aksel Olesen -- Chief Financial Officer

Well, that's in connection with the repurchase of the debt relating to the debt relating to dividend.

Randy Giveans -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Got it. Good deal. Well, thanks again for the time.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Randy.

Operator

And your next question comes from the line of Richard Diamond from Castlewood Capital. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

Richard Diamond -- Castlewood Capital -- Analyst

Yes. Good morning, good afternoon, everyone. Finally, Seadrill is not going to be as much of an issue going forward, and it's resolved. And I want to commend you and the team for doing a great job of identifying the opportunities in container shipping.

And as a shareholder, I can say we're extraordinarily well-positioned. My question, Ole, for you is looking at a fairly large canvas, what areas interest and attract you? Where do you think there's value? Could it be in tankers or some other class?

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thank you, Richard, and thanks for the kind words. As you point out, we try to look at a very -- at a broad, call it, maritime market. I think where we have seen more general, call it, interest and also in securing longer-term charters has typically been on the liner side.

And as I mentioned maybe earlier also, that is also where we, from time to time, see that the end-user or sort of our customers are willing to pay up also for new and improved technology because their customer, again, is requesting, call it, a greener type of transportation. And this is spot on our focus area now and our COO, Trym Sjolie, he spends a lot of time on new technology and evaluating various systems. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix out there. There are no technology today that will really transition, call it, the maritime space fully to a carbon-neutral setting.

But there are many things you can do to the assets while we are working toward, call it, a greener, I would say, shipping. So I would say our focus area, typically on the liner side, container, car carriers, those kind of assets. Also, on the dry bulk side, there could be interesting opportunities for assets also with the newer and more energy-efficient propulsion technology. On the tanker side, while we are always opportunistic, we are more reluctant.

That's also partly because we think that in the long run, having too much exposure to the tanker sector, which is transporting the very product that has a high CO2 emission footprint has a negative side to it. So it's a balancing act. But in general, we focus on the liner side and potentially also new sectors outside of our current core segments where we also think that we can -- there could be growth opportunities for us. So a little sort of vague there.

We're not trying not to be too specific on percentages or dollar amounts that we are going to invest in any specific sector, but we are very focused on building SFL and transition the portfolio. Remember back some years ago, we had only tanker vessels, and I'm very happy that we don't have that kind of concentration in that segment now.

Richard Diamond -- Castlewood Capital -- Analyst

I'd love your thoughts. I'm looking at the order book by various segments, except for LNG, which, though apologies to FLEX, has a lot of issues. I'm thinking that there are very few points in time when the forward outlook, and I'm talking six months to a year, have been better. And given your long career, I wonder if you could contrast the opportunity set today versus other valleys in the past?

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. It's an interesting question. I think if you take a sort of a step back and look at sort of the shipping or the maritime market in general, what we've seen over the years, it's typically been the owners who have killed, call it, the market recoveries by ordering too many vessels too quickly and quicker than the demand, call it, pickup. And therefore, you have periods with oversupply caused by over-eager owners.

And you're absolutely correct. In many shipping markets now, you have historic low order books, like in the dry bulk, like in the tanker space. It's a very long time since you've seen such low order books. And in a market, you would then expect many, call it, speculative owners to run out and order new ships because many can see this.

But at the same time, with the developments and change in propulsion technology, that also means that many are holding back a little on their investments because they're not quite sure which assets to invest in and what will be sort of the standard going forward. And also, I would like to highlight the access to capital, which is a fundamental change from prior cycles, where we see many of the traditional, call it, shipping banks who would lever any vessel to any owner, concentrating and focusing on the larger customers and making it difficult to, I would say, smaller and more marginal owners to just go out and order vessels because, again, these are capital-intensive assets. So I think you have an interesting triangulation now in many of these subsegments, where you could see much higher volatility and positive volatility, we hope, in the spot market. And the way we can benefit from that is a combination of the dry bulk market, as Trym mentioned, also profit shares we have on tanker assets.

And of course, we try to catch some of this if we can and -- to a degree we can. But you are absolutely correct, we haven't seen, call it, this kind of market balance for many, many years.

Richard Diamond -- Castlewood Capital -- Analyst

Thank you very much.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Greg Lewis from BTIG. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

Greg Lewis -- BTIG -- Analyst

Yes. Hi, thank you, and good afternoon, everybody.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Hi.

Greg Lewis -- BTIG -- Analyst

Ole, I'm trying to read between the lines. And feel free to tell me I'm thinking about this the wrong way. But as I think about ship finance historically, you've kind of bought assets. And pretty much, for the most part, it seems like I want to say, we'll run those either to our useful life or maybe we got rid of some because there was a restructuring by a counterparty.

But as I look at this and think about Richard's comments around the cycle, there are reasons to be excited about some of this commodity shipping like a dry bulk or tankers. And really, I guess, I'm curious, going through the fleet, realizing that some of these vessels maybe aren't on contract, could this cycle be different for SFL in that maybe they take advantage of the cycle and maybe opportunistically sell assets and recycle that cash into other types of endeavors? Or am I just thinking about this wrong?

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

No, you're not thinking about it wrongly. I think your reference to our company name is maybe pinpointing it. You referenced to Ship Finance, which is our previous name. And as we changed two years ago, and there's no SFL.

And we did that purposely --

Greg Lewis -- BTIG -- Analyst

I corrected it. I corrected it.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

I know, I know. I had to pull your leg there. But our focus is how can we generate a long-term sustainable cash flow for our investors, i.e., how can we create a dividend, predictable sort of dividend type model focused on the maritime industry. So we don't -- when we build assets, we build it for the life of the asset.

But what we typically do, we typically divest assets as they get older, as they come off charter, and reinvest in newer modern vessels because that's also where we typically see that our potential customers would like to charter in longer term. Older assets, you typically see relatively shorter charter periods for. One of the benefits, of course, of a stronger, call it, commodity market is that with higher, call it, short-term and spot rates in markets, that also has an influence on these companies' willingness to pay up for longer-term charters. So you can say you have an indirect effect there where you can potentially lock in charters on vessels for long-term at a higher level than you would if the market -- if the spot market is rock bottom.

But for us, it's really about the long-term sustainability of the dividend. And that is also why we have an increasing focus on, call it, fuel efficiency improvements, focus on carbon footprint. It's not because there is a -- it's going to -- it's a change with a flick of a switch. But it's because it's a process, and we just need to be ahead of that curve because it is going to impact us all over time.

And we just tried to invest as best as we can as we transition into this because we think that has the best long-term value for shareholders.

Greg Lewis -- BTIG -- Analyst

OK. That was super helpful. Thank you.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. And your next question comes from the line of Liam Burke from B. Riley. Please go ahead.

Your line is open.

Liam Burke -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

Thank you. Good afternoon. You discussed capital allocation to the course of the call today. We talked about your debt, your asset allocation in terms of fleet.

Where does the dividend priority lie in terms of the capital allocation strategy?

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Well, you say that our primary focus is dividends, but we don't have a set, call it, percentage of net income, if that is what you refer to. What we typically do, and this is more how we are structured, SFL, you can say, as the parent company owning a lot of assets, we focus on two things. We focus on, of course, securing long-term employment on these assets, and then we focus on how capital is flowing from these assets, net of financing, that's specific to the assets, up to the parent company and supporting the long-term dividend capacity. So as I said, the dividend is really more a reflection of how we structure the deals and how we think long term, and not necessarily on quarter to quarter, call it, net income or -- because from quarter to quarter, there are many factors that has an impact, also many noncash items.

And you can say because we have many assets with very long-term charters, we also have some sort of accounting features that some, call it, more spot-oriented maritime companies don't see like lease accounting which is more similar to what you see in the airline industry, for instance, and therefore, affecting, call it, some of the numbers that are being reported. I'm not sure if that if that was helpful for you.

Liam Burke -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

No, it is helpful. But I mean, getting down that -- walking down this discussion, as you look forward to adding assets or in your capital allocation, is there one form of financing, be it leasing or debt that looks more attractive to you, especially when you have part of your assets in the spot market? Or is it typically going to continue to be what the current charter agreement is or if it's operating in the spot market?

Aksel Olesen -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. I think what we try to do is to evaluate each project, each charter, much the optimal financing to that charter. And as said, depending on age, etc. So it really depends on a case-to-case basis, but always trying to improve financing terms, build bank relationships.

If you look at SFL's portfolio of banks, over the last few years, I think currently, we have approximately 30 banks in the bank group. We've seen a migration to the east. We extensively bank with the Japanese banks, Taiwanese banks, etc., that view SFL very similar to Japanese ship owners with a conservative strategy. And they like the business model and are, hence, providing us with very attractive capital.

So that's going to fulfill part of our business development, finding the most attractive financing and creating that arbitrage.

Liam Burke -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. [Operator instructions] Your next question comes from the line of Chris Wetherbee from Citi. Please go ahead. Your line is open.

James Monigan -- Citi-Analyst

Hi, guys, James on for Chris. Good morning. I just wanted to follow-up on some of the previous questions around the priorities for your capital allocation. Like vessel values have improved, you've sold some assets, you've raised equity and you paid down a little bit of debt.

Just wanted to understand how you were thinking about leverage going in here. You've commented on the convert but -- or converts, rather, but I just wanted to understand broadly, how are you thinking about leverage at this point in the cycle? Are there opportunities around your capital structure there that makes sense? Just kind of wanted to get your thoughts.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. What we typically do when we look at the new project is to try to optimize, call it, cash flow from, call it, that, call it, specific silo, if you can call an asset or maybe or four or five assets for that matter if we structure it as, call it, as one deal and we can put together a financing package around that deal. And then, of course, our focus is on optimizing leverage in that structure. We try to focus on minimizing, call it, recourse to SFL balance sheet if we can.

And then the capital we put in, as you can say, it's what we call an equity in that project, call it, internal project, that is a combination of, you can say, equity or call it, corporate debt at the holding level, including the convertible loans that we may have raised. So as we have been investing that capital at double-digit type returns, there has been a nice, call it, arbitrage also by utilizing that type of capital in that way. So if you look at SFL, it's really a collection of projects like that, where we try to optimize each and every silo. We try to eliminate risk between the silo, i.e., if something happens, for instance, now the situation we've had with the drilling rigs and this rig where we repaid the debt, that, call it, situation around that and the situation around Seadrill and their filing has no bearing on any of our other more than 80 assets.

They are totally isolated from what is going on in, call it, in the drilling asset silos. And the cash flow has been streaming just as it should on it without interruption all along. So it's a mix of structure from a risk perspective and then optimizing cash flow coming up. And of course, there's no point for us to leverage something 100% because then we don't have real capital invested.

In any project we do, it's always a focus on how do we put the money to use so we can build distribution capital over time for our shareholders and thereby supporting the dividend capacity and hopefully, increasing it again soon.

James Monigan -- Citi-Analyst

Got it. And just thinking on the dividend, you've gone through two cuts. Just I wanted to understand what are sort of -- I guess the way to think about it would be like the lessons learned per se about what you could possibly do moving forward, how sort of maybe on the capital structure side or maybe on the fleet side about what potentially might change moving forward given the experience that you've gone through across 2020.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I think 2020 was an exceptional year, I would say, for the wrong reasons. We had a market collapse early in the year, as we all know, with the disruption with the COVID-19 and an oil price collapse. So what we then, at that time -- and if we step back more than a year, the outlook for the offshore industry was very different than how it sort of, call it, developed over the year.

So we have taken some painful steps in SFL by reducing the dividend in this period. And the last reduction was really designed to ensure that all contribution from those offshore assets are eliminated from the distribution capacity. So it's really visible for investors and our analysts. I hope that this is a sustainable level in SFL from our other assets, not affected by the offshore space.

And then hopefully, as we will also have more visibility in that situation. And also, as we hopefully can invest more capital in new projects, it's a better timing to then look at doing something, hopefully, on the positive side with the dividend. But as a matter of corporate policy, we never guide on forward dividends. That is something the board has always reserved the right.

And so I cannot tell you if and when the dividend will be increased. But of course, it's our objective here to do something about that. Otherwise, I would say we have failed.

James Monigan -- Citi-Analyst

Got it. And then just sort of a follow-up on that. I guess one of the sort of mitigants you talked about around offshore was the potential to actually step into the sub-charters if conditions got worse. Is that something that's still on the table, like further down the road in terms of like looking for some sort of potential for like a recovery out of this and what that actually might happen in terms of upside? Just kind of wanted to understand if that was still something that could potentially happen longer term.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Thank you. Unfortunately, given the ongoing Chapter 11 process in Seadrill, I cannot really comment any more specifically on the rigs than what we have disclosed in the press release. Of course, as time goes on, I'm sure there will be more clarity on the outcome of those proceedings.

The important thing for us and I'm sure for all the other stakeholders also in Seadrill is to ensure that the two rigs that are working for oil majors continue uninterrupted activities, no impact on the service. And remember, the Chapter 11 process is typically a process where the business remain, call it, unaffected, while the financial stakeholders and owners restructure, call it, the balance sheets, etc. So we are happy to see that two of our rigs are on good charters with these very strong counterparties, but I cannot give any more specific guiding on what could be after the Chapter 11 proceedings.

James Monigan -- Citi-Analyst

Got it. And one more sort of point to follow-up on something you've talked about a couple of times already, which is the tanker market. And it seemingly makes sense cyclically, but you do have an ESG concern. So as opposed to talking about like the sector broadly as something that is interesting.

Are there particular types of deals in the space that you might still find appealing that might mitigate some of those concerns that you have? And that's all for me.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

We try not to be too specific on guiding on that. But I would say that we have a focus on, call it, ESG-type factors and particularly on factors concerning emissions from vessels. And of course, the fact that tanker vessels both consume oil as they run, but also transport oil, waste, call it down on our appetite in that segment. But we haven't said that we are excluding any segment now, but I'm saying that our focus is primarily on the segments where we see less of a carbon footprint as we invest going forward.

James Monigan -- Citi-Analyst

Thank you.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

There are no further questions at this time. Please carry on.

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you. Then I would like to thank everyone for participating in our fourth-quarter conference call and also thank the SFL team for their efforts in a challenging time with all the disruption caused by the COVID-19 situation, both on boarder vessels and onshore. If you have any follow-up questions, there are contact details in the press release and you can get in touch with us through our contact pages on our web page, www.sflcorp.com. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 57 minutes

Call participants:

Ole Hjertaker -- Chief Executive Officer

Aksel Olesen -- Chief Financial Officer

Randy Giveans -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Trym Sjolie

Richard Diamond -- Castlewood Capital -- Analyst

Greg Lewis -- BTIG -- Analyst

Liam Burke -- B. Riley FBR -- Analyst

James Monigan -- Citi-Analyst

More SFL analysis

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