Friday, December 29, 2006

GE Shipping, Great Offshore, Garware Offshore in race to buy Scottish offshore company SBS Marine

Great Eastern Shipping (GE Shipping), Great Offshore (GOL) and Garware Offshore are vying to buy Scottish offshore company SBS Marine. Norwegian company Viking Supply Ships is the parent of SBS Marine. Investment banking sources put the deal size to be around $200 mn.

SBS Marine owns five platform supply vessels (PSVs), and is building another PSV at a Norwegian yard. In August, Viking had acquired 100% of the share capital of SBS Aberdeen, the parent company of SBS Marine (SBS), for an undisclosed sum. Sources said the offshore asset prices have skyrocketed over the past few months, and Viking may want to cash in on the boom. The bids were invited by a consortium — including a legal firm, broker and a financial advisor, all based in Norway. Sources said two UK-based shipping companies have also bid for SBS Marine.

Sources say that all three Indian companies had given non-committal bids a month ago, and were short-listed by Viking. The bidders are now expected to complete their due diligence soon, and submit final bids. The assets of SBS Marine are worth around Rs. 700 crores. The company also has some debt to be paid off.

Bharat Sheth and Vijay Sheth recently split ways after the GE Shipping de-merger. Currently, Bharat takes care of the management of GE Shipping, while Vijay is in charge of the de-merged entity GOL. GE Shipping is believed to have submitted a bid through its wholly-owned subsidiary Greatship (India). GE Shipping is the largest private shipping company in India, sitting on huge cash reserve, and is planning the acquisition through a mix of internal accruals and debt.

Garware Offshore is also looking at ‘yard sale’ to raise funds for the acquisition. The company is currently building three new PSVs at a cumulative cost of Rs. 320 crores, and may look at selling one or two at a premium to amass the required funds for the acquisition of SBS Marine.

Read The Economic Times article.

No comments: