Tuesday, February 20, 2007

TradeWinds' top ten deals

I rate the deals as follows:J - Camillo Eitzen & Co’s EUR 219m ($280m) purchase of the 14 ship fleet of French chemical tanker operator, Fouquet Sacop. I like the Eitzen deal because I have a bias in this sector of the market. Eitzen is a knowledgeable and experienced operator. I know the acquired company to be a quality operation. I - Bergesen Worldwide Gas’ $347m purchase of the 10 vessel LPG carrier fleet of Norwegian fertiliser producer, Yara. C – DP World’s $5.75bn purchase of P&O for its ports portfolio. D - AP Moller – Maersk’s $2.8bn takeover of P&O Nedlloyd. E – Hapag-Lloyd’s $2.3bn acquisition of CP Ships. F - The $600m purchase by Saade family controlled CMA CGM of North South liner trade specialist Delmas. These above deals are similar in that strategic market positioning was a major factor in the acquisition. I do not know enough about the specific aspects of the deals to comment in detail. The Bergeson LPG deal looks a like a very fine piece of business. All the companies acquired are established operations of stategic value. Unfortunately we do not see Greeks going for this upper part of the market.H – The $542m deal by Peter Georgiopoulos’ General Maritime to sell 10 suezmax tankers and nine aframax OBOs to Tanker Pacific. G – The $550m sale and leaseback of 13 tankers by Evangelos Pistiolis led Top Tankers. These deals have to do with cashing in on the current high asset prices. Georgiopoulos made a good move to restructure his fleet and will hopefully focus more on quality before further scaling up. The Pistiolis ranks lower because it is really balance sheet restructuring and they are carrying the lease liabilities. It reflects the congestion in the KG market and competition for deals. B - Tsakos Energy Navigation $530m acquisition of nine ice class tankers from Swiss oil trader Western Petroleum. Tsakos is moving into a new area and it remains to be seen how they will perform. His father's management company faces new challenges in crewing, etc in these specialised trades. A – The recent $735m purchase by Stamatis Molaris led Quintana of 17 ships from that serial dealmaker Theodore Angelopoulos of Metrostar. Whilst the scaling up is understandable, the company is moving very far, very fast with analogous challenges. The CEO has no prior personal involvement in ship management or operations, being a financial man. The company faces substantial challenges in crewing and house technical management to find suitable sea and office staff and get them properly working together so that the ships perform well for Bunge. The deal makes the company a technical vessel provider to one major client, so the in-house commercial and operational base remains small.

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