P&O FIRMS UP PLAN TO LIST ABC BULK ARM ON STOCK EXCHANGE
The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company group said that it plans to sell, at the end of this month, between 60 percent and 69 percent of the shares in its wholly owned subsidiary Associated Bulk Carriers plc.
ABC operates capesize bulk carriers and has net assets of approximately $190 million.
P&O plans an initial public offering of the company on the Oslo stock exchange at a price of 45 to 60 Norwegian krone per share.
“The market for capesize tonnage has improved significantly from the low levels experienced in late 1998 and first half 1999,” P&O said. Average charter rates have increased, from a low point of approximately $5,500 per ship per day in 1999, to the current level of approximately $16,500 per ship per day, it added.
ABC made a pro forma loss after tax of $43 million in 1999 but is now trading profitably, P&O said.
P&O said that ABC would remain a British company following the listing and that it is expected that it will operate under the U.K. tonnage tax.