NOVEMBER 20, 2012 — Maersk Tankers is exiting the Handygas segment. It has sold its 11 handy size gas tankers to Navigator Gas. According to a joint statement, the divestment allows Maersk Tankers to focus on fewer segments and releases capital for future investments.
"Navigator Gas presented us with a great business proposition that supports our aim to simplify and release capital for future investments," said Hanne B. Sørensen, CEO Maersk Tankers. "Navigator Gas is an experienced and well-renowned player and I am confident that they will deliver the same first-rate service to our customers as we have."
Navigator Gas's parent Navigator Holdings Ltd. is more than 50 percent owned by investor Wilbur Ross's investment management company WL Ross & Co. which last month bought 4.4 million common shares that had been owned by Lehman Brothers Inc. for approximately $110 million. The sale of the shares was approved by the court overseeing the liquidation of Lehman Brothers, the investment house whose 2008 bankruptcy filing was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history (see earlier story).
David J Butters, Chairman, President and CEO of Navigator commented: "We are pleased to be able to acquire Maersk Tankers modern fleet of handy sized vessels and based on our shared views of maintaining the highest operating standards, we are certain that we can continue to deliver excellent service to all stakeholders within our industry."
The sale affects around 300 seafarers on the Handygas vessels. It is expected that all seafarers will be transferred to other vessels in the Maersk Tankers fleet or be offered employment by Navigator Gas.
Maersk Tankers is working closely with Navigator Gas to ensure a smooth transition of the vessels and to support the employees in the period of change. Maersk Tankers will fulfill all existing contractual commitments and the vessels will be delivered individually to Navigator Gas during the period January 31 through the fourth quarter of 2013.
After the vessels are delivered the Navigator Gas fleet will consist of 23 modern 20,500-22,500 cu.m semi-refrigerated and fully refrigerated gas carriers with another four semirefrigerated, ethylene-capable vessels under construction.