Stolt Tankers Ready to Seize Merger & Aquisition Opportunities

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…As Maritime universities will help Nigeria meet seafarers’ shortfall – Dogara***

…Says the nation needs 50, 000 seafarers ***

As the separation of Stolt Tankers as a stand-alone company from Belgium’s Stolt-Nielsen Limited (SNL) nears completion, the company is ready to pursue merger and acquisition opportunities that might come its way.

“Now we are ready to do another deal, meaning either acquiring a competitor or merging with a competitor using shares instead of cash,” Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, SNL’s Chief Executive Officer, said while speaking in a conference call on the company’s results.

“If that doesn’t happen, we are also ready to do an initial public offering (IPO) if we chose to.”

Stolt-Nielsen further added that the company is laying the groundwork to be able to pursue an opportunity quickly.

“Had we not separated out, it would have taken us one year to do a carry out a potential acquisition,”he explained.

With regard to a potential IPO, Stolt-Nielsen said that even though the option is on the table, it has not been considered as an item on the agenda. This is in particular, as the timing of an IPO needs to be right, however, considering the current situation on the chemical tanker market, now is not the best time to do it.

“We would prefer to pursue consolidation opportunities as there is very much room in the market for the consolidation to take place and it would be beneficial for everyone,” he further added.

Nevertheless, if those efforts don’t bear fruit the company would turn to an IPO.

Stolt Nielsen stressed it intends to remain a majority owner in its chemical tanker business.

Oslo-listed Stolt-Nielsen Limited reported USD 49.2 million-worth net profit for the first nine months of 2017, considerably lower from USD 90.3 million posted in the corresponding period of 2016.

Stolt Tankers’ third-quarter operating profit was USD 34.4 million, up from USD 27.6 million in the second quarter of 2017 and corresponding quarter of 2016 when it booked USD 31.4 million. For the nine-month period, the tanker division’s profit reached USD 90.5 million against last year’s USD 108 million.

In the meantime, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara has observed a strong need for Nigeria to meet its seafarers requirements, through the establishment of maritime universities in the country.

He noted that while the country needs about 50,000 competent seafarers, it actually has less than 5,000.

Dogara indicated this on Tuesday at the public hearing on two bills proposing the establishment of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta and Maritime University, Oron in Akwa Ibom.

The public hearing, organised by the House Committee on Maritime Safety and Education was chaired by Rep. Mohammed Bago.

Dogara, represented by the Chief Whip, Mr Ado Doguwa, said “from Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) records, Nigeria needs about 50,000 Seafarers for the Nigerian shipping industry to realize its full potential.

“As at 2009, Nigeria had less than 3,000 Seafarers.’’

He explained that the purpose for the establishment of the universities was to fill the gap in the manpower requirements of the maritime sector.

The speaker added that the universities would provide maritime academic training, facilities and indeed, infrastructure as required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) under STCW Conventions.

On the Maritime University, Oron, he explained that the “Bill seeks to upgrade the existing Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron, to a degree awarding institution.

“This initiative will at the same time provide upgraded facilities and teaching aids as required by IMOs STCW Convention (The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers) 1978.’’

Dogara explained that the convention set qualification standards for Masters, Officers and Watch Personnel on seagoing merchant ships.

He pointed out that global maritime economy had become increasingly knowledge driven, necessitating the production of local high level professionals to meet the challenges.

He further said that Nigeria was a potential maritime power.

“Considering our access to limitless maritime resources and waterways, with about 850 kilometres Coastline on the Atlantic Ocean that connects some of the World’s richest economies, and over 3, 000 kilometres Inland navigable waterways.

“Yet, there is no specialized university offering relevant courses in maritime studies and engineering, even though Nigeria has about 130 universities,’’ the speaker said.

In his welcome address, Chairman of the committee, Bago, reiterated the need for institutions that would provide studies in maritime as well as the engineering.

He urged stakeholders to contribute their views on the bills as they would be instrumental in helping the house arrive at decisions that could impact positively on the maritime industry in the country.

Additional report from World Maritime News

 

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