May 25, 2005
Aker and Kvaerner to establish Aker American Shipping
Aker and Kvaerner have initiated the establishment of Aker American Shipping, a holding company for both the Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard and ten product tanker vessels. An agreement in principle for long-term bareboat charter of the vessels has already been reached with Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc (OSG).
A statement from the two companies says that "in connection with the planned listing of Aker American Shipping, Aker is evaluating the possibility of buying Kv¾rner's share and integrating Aker American Shipping as a part of the Aker-group. In that event, the share price on Aker American Shipping will be equal to the subscription price offered to the market."
"In our view Aker American Shipping would constitute an interesting investment opportunity and a potential new business area for Aker. Under the management agreement with Aker Yards, Kvaerner Philadelphia has developed to become one of the most efficient shipyards in the U.S. Jones Act market," say Leif-Arne Lang¿y, CEO and President of Aker ASA.
"Short-term, the agreement with OSG represents predictable revenue for Aker American Shipping. In the longer run, when the aging U.S. fleet of commercial ships are due for replacement, other possibilities will arise, adds Langoy.
The sale of Aker American Shipping, including the subsidiaries Kvaerner Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc and American Shipping Company, Inc. is fully in line with Kvaerner ASA's declared strategy. Kv¾rner's investments will be disposed of and distributed to the company's shareholders.
"With the sales of two container vessels earlier this year and the agreement in principle with OSG, Kvaerner Philadelphia has reached important milestones in the extensive restructuring of the yard, and major values has been demonstrated in Kv¾rner," says Lone Fonss Schroder, Kvaerner ASA's chairman. She adds that in Kv¾rner's opinion a closer connection to the industrial expertise in the Aker group is of positive value both for Aker American Shipping and its two subsidiaries.
"In the event Aker should purchase Kv¾rner's shares in Aker American Shipping, Kvaerner would be able to distribute both cash and Aker shares as dividend, and the Kvaerner ASA shareholders would through Aker still take part of the future increment of Aker American Shipping, says Schroder. The intention of both Aker and Kv¾rner is to agree on the terms of a transaction before the summer.
The potential agreement will be subject to certain conditions, including a final contract with OSG.