Two shipping companies that specialize in moving project and heavylift cargo – Houston-based Intermarine and Denmark’s Scan-Trans Holding -announced Wednesday that they are merging.
The combined companies will operate under the Intermarine name and have a fleet of more than 50 multipurpose and heavylift vessels with lifting capacities of up to 800 metric tons and about two dozen offices worldwide.
The companies, both privately held, said the merger was accomplished through a stock transaction, but did not release other financial details.
The new company will be based in Houston and have annual revenue of more than $500 million. The New York-based private equity company New Mountain Capital, which acquired a stake in Intermarine in 2008, will be the largest shareholder of the new company.
The company said its intent is to continue to grow the business and said the fact that it has the backing of New Mountain, with more than $9 billion under management, “ensures Intermarine the capability to grow both organically or through acquisitions in the future.”
The company plans to retain the 70 employees at Scan-Trans and 165 at Intermarine. The companies will merge their Houston offices, but other locations will remain open. Scan-Trans headquarters was in Naestved, Denmark.
Al Stanley, president and chief executive officer of Intermarine, will head the new company and Scan-Trans CEO Lahrs Juhl will lead operations in Europe and Asia.
The company said going forward it will focus on four key areas:
- Inter-Americas liner and terminal services.
- Global chartering and liner services.
- Commercial management of third-party vessels.
- U.S.-flag services worldwide. (Intermarine has six U.S. flag vessels.)
“We believe the company will set the standard for customer service and value in the industry,” Stanley said. “As the industry consolidates, global breadth and laser focus on customer needs will define the winners.”
“Consolidation is the key to success in our line of business, and Scan-Trans has been looking for the ideal partner for some time,” Juhl added. “We are therefore thrilled to merge with Intermarine, a company we feel is the perfect match in business, culture and values.”
Andre Grikitis, operating chairman of Intermarine, predicted continued consolidation in the industry and said Intermarine “will have the global footprint to support all of our customers. With the strength and flexibility of the best balance sheet in the business, we are well positioned to continue our growth as both service and asset opportunities arise.”
Susan Oatway, a senior consultant at Drewry Ship Consultants in London, estimated at the end of May there were about 3,119 multipurpose ships in the world fleet of which about 956 are heavy-lift capable, or able to take on board cargoes weighing 120 tons or more.
The order book for these multipurpose ships is fairly well balanced, with about 318 ships comprising 4 million deadweight tons (dwt) on order for a fleet that has a current capacity of 29 million dwt. Oatway said about half of those ships have heavylift capability.
She said mergers in the industry “are a way forward out of the doldrums” afflicting the breakbulk and bulk shipping sectors, which she said are highly fragmented and have little pricing power.
By merging, Intermarine/Scan-Trans may be able to add value by offering shippers the exact type of vessels they needed.
Over its history Intermarine has been increasing the lift capacity of vessels where its new ships have two 400-ton cranes capable of dual hoists of 800 tons.
For more details about the heavylift carrier industry and its drive to build bigger vessels, read the August American Shipper, pages 36-37. – Chris Dupin