Shipping’s trend towards delisting is picking up pace. Norwegian shipowner Leif Höegh revealed today it has teamed with Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners in a bid to take Höegh LNG private.
The two parties have formed a 50:50 joint venture, Larus Holding, to try and privatise the gas shipping player, whose fleet consists of 12 vessels, a mix of LNG gas carriers and FSRUs. Currently Leif Höegh and Morgan Stanley control 49.6% of Höegh LNG and are now offering NOK23.50 ($2.74) for each of the outstanding shares they do not own on the Oslo Bors, a premium of approximately 36% to the closing share price on Friday.
The board of Höegh LNG has unanimously approved the amalgamation agreement and determined to recommend the unaffiliated shareholders of the company to vote in favour of the transaction.
The consent of two-thirds of shareholders is needed for the privatisation to push ahead, something deemed likely to conclude within the first half of this year. An August 9 deadline has been put on the transaction.
Shipowners opting to take companies private was the lead story in the February issue of Splash Extra.
New York-listed LNG carrier specialist owner GasLog announced delisting plans last month, entering into a merger with BlackRock’s Global Energy & Power Infrastructure team. GasLog’s founder, Peter Livanos, said the new deal would allow “for access to growth capital currently absent in the public equity markets”.
The GasLog announcement marks the fifth shipping stock to exit Wall Street in the last 15 months.
Dagfinn Lunde, the founder of eShipfinance.com, told Splash Extra: “The debate – public versus private – will go on forever as both the shipping markets and the capital markets are both very volatile and mostly are not in sync.”