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OSLO, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Frontline, the oil tanker firm controlled by shipping tycoon John Fredriksen, reported a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss on Wednesday as impairments and goodwill writedowns hit results.
Frontline has suffered from low rates due to an oversupply of ships and output restrictions among major oil producers attempting to push up the price of crude.
"We believe there will be opportunities going forward and have the financial and commercial platform to grow our fleet when we believe it is to the benefit of our shareholders," the company said in a statement.
"Until then Frontline is sharply focused on maintaining our cost-efficient operations and low breakeven levels."
Frontline reported a net loss of $248 million for the quarter against expectations of a $10.5 million loss in a Reuters poll of analysts, and down from an $18.3 million profit at the same time a year ago.
The writedowns consisted of an impairment loss of $142.9 million on nine very large crude carriers leased from Ship Finance, a $112.8 million impairment loss on goodwill and a gain on derivatives of $2.3 million, the company said.
Excluding writedowns, the company recorded a net profit of $5 million for the quarter. Frontline's shares are down 42 percent in the last 12 months. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Ole Petter Skonnord, editing by Gwladys Fouche)