APRIL 7, 2014 — AGL Resources Inc. (NYSE: GAS) reports has signed a definitive agreement to sell its Tropical Shipping business to a subsidiary of Saltchuk Resources, Inc. of Seattle, WA. After-tax cash proceeds and repatriated cash from the transaction are expected to be approximately $220 million, subject to certain defined post-closing adjustments.
AGL, whose primary business is owning and operating natural gas utilities, acquired Tropical Shipping in 2011 when it merged with Nicor. Inc.
The largest tenant of the Port of Palm Beach, FL, Tropical Shipping is one of the largest containerized cargo carriers in the Caribbean region and the Bahamas with a fleet of 11 owned vessels.
"We are very pleased to have identified Saltchuk as a well-qualified strategic owner of Tropical Shipping" said Andrew W. Evans, executive vice president and chief financial officer for AGL Resources. "While we have been responsible stewards of Tropical Shipping for the duration of our ownership, and have worked diligently to successfully increase profitability over the last two years, we have deliberately sought a more strategic owner for these assets."
Saltchuk said that, as an international foreign flagged shipping and logistics operation, Tropical and its related companies will become Saltchuk's sixth line of business. Tropical will continue to operate as a standalone operation.
Saltchuk noted that for fifteen years it has been serving the people of Puerto Rico through Sea Star Line, its U.S. flag operation and said that Tropical's foreign flag fleet provides service to the balance of the region.
"Tropical shares our values. The company has a strong safety culture, has the best on time service in its region, and is committed to giving back to the communities which it serves," said Saltchuk Chairman Mark Tabbutt and President Tim Engle in an announcement to employees. "All of the traits that make our other companies so strong can be found also at Tropical."
The sale is expected to close within the next 90 days.