Frontline mulls spin off of heavy lift business
Frontline Ltd. said it is establishing a separate company to develop its heavy-lift business.
'Such a company will include up to six single-hull Suezmax vessels. Five of these vessels are on long term leases from Ship Finance International Ltd., and a deal is subject to reaching a mutually acceptable solution with Ship Finance International Ltd. for a purchase of these vessels,' Frontline said.
One vessel is 'being converted to a heavy lift vessel at Cosco shipyard in China and will be completed in April 2007. One further firm contract has been signed for a second vessel to be delivered in August 2007, and optional conversion contracts are in place with the yard for up to four more vessels.'
The new company would be named Sealift Ltd. and the company said it has recruited Bert Bekker, former chief executive officer of Dockwise Transportation, to be the CEO of the Sealift management organization.
Earlier this month, offshore services company Heerema Group and Norwegian maritime group Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA announced the buyout of Dockwise Transport N.V., the Dutch heavy transportation company based in Breda, to 3i, a global leader in private equity, and funds managed by 3i. The deal is valued in excess of $700 million.
Frontline said it was investigating the possibility to bring in outside investors in Sealift, but that it intended to retain 33 percent of the equity. Frontline said 'a final clarification around the possible spin off of Sealift and the financial consequences of the transaction to be communicated to the market within this week.'