Maritime Partners in $746.7 million Jones Act tankers swoop

Written by Nick Blenkey
One of ships bought by Maritime Partners

All the vessels were built at Philly Shipyard (then Aker Philadelphia Shipyard). [Photo: Philly Shipyard]

Metairie, La., headquartered Maritime Partners LLC is getting into the Jones Act tanker market, big time. Best known as the largest lessor of U.S. inland waterways towboats, it is getting into the oceangoing sector by acquiring nine vessels owned by Oslo-listed AMSC ASA (the company formerly known as American Shipping Company).

All are on long-term bareboat charter to Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. (NYSE:OSG) or Keystone Shipping Co., and all were built at Philly Shipyard (then Aker Philadelphia Shipyard).

The mechanics of the deal are that AMSC and Project Merchant Acquisition LLC a newly-formed company owned and controlled by a fund managed by Maritime Partners LLC, have signed a share purchase agreement covering PM Acquisition’s purchase of American Tanker Holding Company, Inc. (ATHC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of AMSC that, through its subsidiaries, owns the nine handysize products tankers and one handysize shuttle tanker covered by the transaction. Six are on charter to OSG and three to Keystone.

The deal puts an enterprise value of $746.7 million on ATHC.

“We are thrilled to acquire AMSC’s Jones Act business which is a natural fit for our platform and consistent with our investment strategy,” said Bick Brooks, the co-founder and CEO of Maritime Partners LLC. “The acquired vessels are critical long-lived assets engaged in the transportation of non-discretionary cargo throughout the United States. The vessels are employed on long-term bareboat charters with two strong counterparties. This acquisition will nicely complement our existing lease portfolio by diversifying lessee exposure, asset exposure and end market exposure within the protected Jones Act markets. As we look to the future, we are excited about cultivating a lasting and growing partnership with our two new lessees, Overseas Shipholding Group and Keystone.”

Pål Lothe Magnussen, CEO of AMSC commented that “the management team at AMSC is pleased that a Maritime Partners managed fund, a leading Jones Act leasing company, is acquiring our Jones Act business. We believe this is the ideal new owner of this business for the next phase in the lifecycle of these assets. AMSC’s ownership tenure has surpassed 18 years since the ships were ordered, during which significant financial profits have been created and provided to AMSC and its shareholders. We believe that the long remaining commercial life of the fleet in combination with strong bareboat charter contract cover in a strong market represents a good opportunity and point in time for us to reconsider capital allocation for AMSC and strategy going forward, and this transaction is a natural step in this process.”

The parties expect the deal to close on or before October 31, 2023.

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