Huge Norwegian shipping merger announced
Under the deal Farstad is to complete a financial restructuring via a debt-for-equity swap and new share issue, and will then be merged with Deep Sea Supply and Solstad Offshore, controlled by Norwegian billionaires John Fredriksen and Kjell Inge Roekke respectively.
With a combined fleet of 154 ships, the new combined company, Solstad Farstad, will be the biggest owner of large vessels in the supply, anchor handling and construction support segments of the OSV market worldwide, and would rank fourth overall when smaller vessels are included in the count, said the firms.
The move to consolidate the sector follows shipping tycoon Fredriksen's bid by his separate oil tanker firm Frontline to take over rival DHT Holdings, which DHT's board rejected late on Sunday.
As part of the deal, Farstad's banks, bondholders and other creditors agreed to convert billions of crowns owed into shares, the companies said
In addition Roekke and Fredriksen are to fully underwrite a share issue by Farstad to raise 650 million Norwegian crowns ($80 million).
Following the merger Roekke's Aker will own up to a quarter of the shares of the new company, while the Fredriksen family's Hemen Holding company will hold up to 18 percent, according to the joint statement.
The firms also said the combination would enable cost savings in the range of 400-650 million crowns ($49-$79 million). ■