Star Bulk adds 15 vessels with Songa Bulk acquisition

Star Bulk adds 15 vessels with Songa Bulk acquisition

New York-listed Greek owner Star Bulk Carriers has entered into definitive agreements to acquire 18 dry bulk vessels, 15 of them via the acquisition of Arne Blystad’s Oslo-listed Songa Bulk.

The Songa Bulk deal will see Star Bulk pick up 3 capesizes, 10 kamsarmaxes, an ultramax and a supramax in exchange for 13.725m common shares and $145m in cash. Blystad will join Star Bulk’s board of directors, while CEO Herman Billung will join the Star Bulk management team.

Songa Bulk shareholders will control a 14.9% stake in the enlarged company, which also plans to apply for a secondary listing on Oslo Børs.

Star Bulk is also acquiring three newbuild newcastlemax bulkers from Oceanbulk Container Carriers (OCC), a company controlled by Oaktree Capital Management and members of the Pappas family. The deal is an all-share transaction, with the issuing of 3.39m shares.

Petros Pappas, chief executive officer of Star Bulk, commented: “I am very pleased that Star Bulk is acquiring a high quality, modern fleet from Songa Bulk. Through the acquisition we will also add further industry and capital markets expertise to Star Bulk’s board and management through appointing Mr. Arne Blystad to our Board and including Mr. Herman Billung as part of our management team, expanding our presence in the Scandinavian investor market.”

Songa Bulk chairman Blystad added: “We are excited to take part in creating one of the leading dry bulk companies globally. The Transaction further enhances Songa shareholders’ exposure to an expected continued strengthening of the dry bulk market, allowing for economies of scale from a 108 vessels combined fleet, attractive leverage profile and increased stock liquidity. A dual listing of the combined entity will open the company to a wider investor base and should benefit all stakeholders.”

The new combined fleet of 108 will have an average age of 7.1 years, two years younger than Star Bulk’s existing fleet. Only last month, the company added 16 bulkers from Italy’s Augustea Atlantica and York Capital Management in an all-share transaction.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.

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