American Shipper

A.P. Moller salvage company offers A$693 million for Adsteam

A.P. Moller salvage company offers A$693 million for Adsteam

   A.P. Moller-Maersk's wholly owned global towage and salvage company, SvitzerWijsmuller, has made a A$693 million ($515.3 million) cash offer for Australian-listed Adsteam Marine Ltd. The offer is equal to A$2.54 ($1.89) per share.

   Adsteam’s principal business is towage operations at container, bulk and general cargo ports in Australia, the South Pacific and the United Kingdom.

   “All Adsteam directors will accept SvitzerWijsmuller’s offer in respect of their personal shareholdings in the absence of a higher offer once the regulatory conditions to the offer have been satisfied or waived,” the two parties said in a joint statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

   The offer has several conditions, including SvitzerWijsmuller acquiring at least 90 percent of Adsteam's share capital and obtaining relevant approvals from Australian and U.K. regulatory authorities.

   “Our strategy is to become a global player in, and a preferred provider of, safety and support services at sea, and to use this leadership position to offer our clients an integrated and efficient service across the globe,” said Jesper T. Lok, SvitzerWijsmuller’s chief executive officer.

   “Adsteam and SvitzerWijsmuller both have strong maritime traditions, similar businesses and share a similar set of values. The Adsteam network in Australia, Oceania and the U.K. complements SvitzerWijsmuller’s global network well, so the businesses have a good strategic fit.

   “The overlap between our businesses is minimal and the reductions resulting from the acquisition will likewise be modest. Adsteam has good workplace agreements in place and we do not envisage that they or the operational side and the crewing of the tugs will be impacted by the acquisition,” Lok said.

   SvitzerWijsmuller said it will turn Adsteam’s headquarters in Bondi Junction, New South Wales, into a new regional head office for Oceania.

   “We welcome SvitzerWijsmuller’s cash offer as representing good value and being in the best interests of Adsteam shareholders. We recommend that Adsteam shareholders accept the offer from SvitzerWijsmuller once the regulatory conditions to the offer have been satisfied or waived and in the absence of a higher offer,” said Adsteam Chairman Bruce Corlett.

   Adsteam has agreed to pay SvitzerWijsmuller a break fee of A$6.9 million ($5.13 million) if a director changes their recommendation following a rival bid from a third party.

   “The purchase of Adsteam Marine — if concluded — is expected to have only a marginal effect on the A.P. Moller-M'rsk 2006 accounts,” A.P. Moller said.