Maersk makes SKr3.6bn bid for Broström

The operator of the world’s largest container shipping fleet is set to become the biggest oil product tanker operator after Denmark’s AP Møller-Maersk made an agreed offer for Sweden’s Broström.

The SKr57 per share offer, which values Broström’s shares at SKr3.62bn (€386m), is assured of shareholder approval after all the holders of the A Shares, which have disproportionate voting power, backed the offer.

The 94 tankers operated by Broström will be combined with the tankers operated by Maersk’s Maersk Tankers division to create the world’s largest fleet of product tankers, which carry oil products from refineries to final users.

The new company will operate 270 vessels, of which 130 will be either directly owned or on long-term charter.

Søren Skou, chief executive of Maersk Tankers, said the merger would increase the pool of ships Maersk could offer customers, who he said used product tanker operators like taxis, calling one at short notice when a shipment needed to move.

“We want to make sure that, when the customers call for a taxi, there’s one available,” he said.

Demand for modern, high-quality product tankers is expected to grow in coming years. Rules forcing the phasing-out single-hull vessels will reduce the overall supply of vessels, increasing demand for those remaining. All the new operation’s vessels have two hulls.

The difficulty of building new oil refineries in the main consuming countries and imbalances in the types of refining capacity between different countries also mean oil products now have to travel longer distances to reach consumers.

The new operation’s largest competitor will be Copenhagen-based Torm, which has 115 vessels.

Maersk is due to announce its first-half results later Wednesday. Then numbers will be watched carefully for indicators about the health of Maersk Line, its huge container shipping business.

Lennart Simonsson, chief executive of Broström, said there was a good match between the companies.

Maersk’s offer is conditional on competition clearance.

The holders of Broström’s unlisted A shares, who hold 29.3 per cent of the company but account for 55.9 per cent of voting rights, have all undertaken to accept the offer, which represents a 10.1 per cent premium to the closing share price earlier this week.

Maersk’s B shares – the most widely-traded – were up DKr200 to DKr53,100. Broström’s shares were down SKr11.5 to SKr55.75.

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