Rebuffed OMI drops Stelmar bid

Rebuffed OMI drops Stelmar bid

Oil tanker operator OMI Corp. on Wednesday withdrew its $653.8 million bid to acquire rival Stelmar Shipping Ltd. after the offer was rejected and Stelmar refused to enter negotiations.

But OMI, based in Stamford, Conn., did not rule out the possibility of a deal down the line, saying it remained ready to open discussions with Stelmar.

Stelmar's board rebuffed the all-stock takeover offer on Monday, saying the bid was not in the best interests of its shareholders and vowing to continue as an independent company.

"Given the Stelmar board's position and our desire to avoid a costly and protracted process, we have determined that withdrawing our offer is the best course of action," Craig Stevenson, OMI chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

"If the Stelmar board were to express a willingness to engage in discussions with us, we would be prepared to participate. In the meantime, we will continue to evaluate other options."

OMI's offer won the support of Stelmar's top shareholder and founder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou. The combined entity would have been one of the world's largest publicly traded tanker companies.

Stelmar believed that the OMI offer undervalued Stelmar on a net asset value basis, and that its profitability prospects were better as an independent firm since OMI had outlined no cost-saving synergies, Reuters quoted sources close to Stelmar as saying.