London-based containership owner Global Ship Lease and Greek owner George Youroukos’ Poseidon Containers have entered into a merger agreement.
The $780m all-share deal will create a company with a combined fleet of 38 vessels with a total capacity of 198,793 teu.
“This attractive combination is the result of our strategic alternatives review process, enabling Global Ship Lease to double the size of our fleet, diversify and enlarge our portfolio of customers, improve our fleet age profile, reduce leverage, and significantly strengthen our ability to capitalize on compelling growth opportunities,” said Ian Webber, CEO of Global Ship Lease.
“Importantly, we will also benefit from the extensive operational and commercial capabilities that George Youroukos has separately established. This includes Technomar, an established industry leading ship management company with a proven track record of reliability and controlling vessel operating costs, and ConChart, an organization which will materially enhance our commercial coverage,” Webber added.
George Youroukos will join the combined company’s board as executive chairman, leading the management team while Ian Webber will continue as chief executive officer.
“By combining the strengths of these two highly complementary organizations, Global Ship Lease will be in a position to achieve significant additional growth and to benefit substantially in a recovering market. The clear disconnect between supportive long-term supply/demand fundamentals and cyclically low asset prices represents a highly compelling opportunity to invest in mid-sized and smaller containerships,” said Youroukos.
The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in November.
GSL announced its intention to look for merger and acquisition opportunities in January after appointing Evercore as its financial advisor to review strategic opportunities.
Currently French liner CMA CGM is GSL’s largest shareholder.