Boskalis Westminster today made a 682 million euro ($887 million) offer for Dockwise, setting up an all-Dutch combination of the world’s largest marine services and dredging firm and the operator of the biggest heavy-lift ships.
The unsolicited all-cash bid of 17.20 euros ($22.35) per share represents a 61 percent premium on Dockwise’s closing price on Friday.
The offer, driven by the growing global demand for Dockwise’s ships to transport offshore oil rigs and mining equipment, has a good chance of success, as it has been accepted by HAL Investments, which owns stakes of about 32 percent in both the bidder and its target.
The bid comes as Dockwise completes the integration of its former Norwegian rival Fairstar Heavy Shipping, which it acquired in a hostile takeover earlier in the year.
Boskalis also has a heavy-lift shipping operation, obtained in its $1.5 billion acquisition of Netherlands-based Smit International in 2010 that transformed it into the world’s biggest marine services company with interests spanning dredging, project management, harbor towage and salvage.
A successful takeover would represent a further consolidation of the heavy lift/project cargo industry following the announcement in August of a merger of U.S.-based Intermarine and Denmark’s ScanTrans.
“This step fits in our growth strategy aimed at broadening our service offering for clients in the oil and gas sector,” said Boskalis chief executive Peter Berdowski.
Dockwise said it “will consider the intended offer to assess its merits, risks and the consequences for the company, and its shareholders, as well as its employees and other stakeholders, compared with the stand-alone strategy of Dockwise and other alternatives.”
Dockwise, which is listed in Oslo and Amsterdam, operates 25 semi-submersible vessels, generated $519 million of revenue in 2011, and employs 1,300 staff. It spent $240 million on the world’s biggest heavy-lift ship, with an 110,000-ton grab, which will transport a Chevron oil platform from South Korea to the Gulf of Mexico on its maiden voyage.
Amsterdam-listed Boskalis, which had sales of $3.65 billion in 2011, plans to finance the takeover mainly with debt and issue up to 10 percent of new equity.