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Schulte Group gets nod for PRONAV acquisition

Written by Nick Blenkey
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FEBRUARY 12, 2018 — The Hamburg-based Schulte Group has received clearance by the German Federal Cartel Office for the acquisition of LNG ship management specialist PRONAV.

The strategic move will bring a further six LNG carriers (LNGC) under full management in the family owned Schulte Group’s third-party management fleet.

At present, the Schulte Group provides full management for three LNGC and crew management for 21 LNGC. Five LNGCs with a capacity of 173,000-174,000 cu.m each and one Gas Supply Vessel (GSV) are set to join the fleet in 2018 and 2019, which will bring the number of ships in the fully managed LNG fleet to 15.

According to Clarkson Research Services Limited, the trade volume of LNG increased by more than 250% between 2000 and 2017. At the beginning of this year, the global LNG fleet stood at 506 vessels with analysts expecting the fleet to reach the 600-vessel mark in summer 2019.

“With the acquisition of PRONAV we further enhance the Group’s LNG expertise and strengthen our position as the third-party LNG ship manager of choice,” said Schulte Group CEO Ian Beveridge, “The Schulte Group is well positioned to support the growing demand in this specialized industry sector and we are constantly striving to develop our service portfolio further.”

The Schulte Group marked its entry into LNG ownership in 2014. A 174,000 cu.m LNGC is currently being built at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea and is to be delivered end of 2018. It will be time chartered for a minimum of 15 years to a Japanese trading house to carry liquified gas. Plan approval was undertaken by Schulte Marine Concept and the LNGC will be fully managed by Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM).

BSM has a strong track record in the LNG sector. In 2016, the company signed an operational partner agreement with Dreifa Energy Limited, a specialist that offers medium scale floating regasification solutions, to develop the Dreifa floating LNG regas solution. Thatsame year, BSM entered into a joint venture agreement with Babcock International in response to the growing demand for LNG as a marine fuel and formed Babcock Schulte Energy (BSE). The goal of this joint venture is to develop projects in the small-scale LNG (ssLNG) segment, support the growth of LNG as a marine fuel and to develop scale in the ssLNG and bunkering sectors.

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