Baltic Exchange issues new agreement with panellists as SGX takeover looms

A new agreement has been sent out by the Baltic Exchange today to its 48 shipbroking panellists as the 272-year-old looks to soothe concerns over a proposed takeover by the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

The proposed agreement, which will become effective on and subject to completion of the acquisition, formalises the relationship between the Baltic Exchange and its panellists which has been developed over more than 30 years.

“The Baltic Board expects this agreement to be welcomed by the panellists as it offers both parties, end-users and the wider Baltic membership assurance with regard to the future production and governance of the Baltic indices,” the exchange said in a statement.

Many of the Baltic’s shipbroker panellists previously objected to the takeover. Ten major shipbrokers formed Competitive Ship Brokers Limited (CSBL) to oppose the sell-off – but CSBL has welcomed the new panellist agreement.

“We believe that SGX is a good home for the Baltic Indices and a supportive partner for panellists,” the group’s chairman Gary Weston said.

Weston told Splash that CSBL has been in “close discussions” with the Baltic and SGX for the past two weeks, and the parties have addressed the grievances CSBL aired in May.

Baltic Exchange chairman Guy Campbell said:

 “Formalising the arrangements between the Baltic Exchange and its panellists is an important step that enables the offer discussions with the Singapore Exchange to move forward. We have listened and taken on board feedback from panellists and have drawn up an agreement that we believe meets all parties’ aspirations. Baltic Exchange information underpins the global bulk shipping markets and this agreement will also provide a higher level of certainty to end-users of the information.”

The proposed takeover by SGX, a story first broken by Splash on May 25, has racked up plenty of detractors.

CBSL consists of Arrow, banchero-costa, BRS, Exeno Yamamizu, Fearnleys, Hartland, Ifchor, LSS, Rigel, Thurlestone, plus new member Maersk Broker. The Copenhagen-based shop joined the consortium on July 11, Weston told Splash.

The negotiating window between the Baltic and SGX has been extended until the end of August.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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