Samskip gets OK for Nor Lines acquisition

Samskip gets OK for Nor Lines acquisition

Samskip's deal with Nor Lines is its second acquisition of a Norwegian carrier in two years.

Samskip said it will close on the acquisition of Nor Lines in the “next few days” after the deal was cleared by Norway’s competition authority.

“It represents a major opportunity for Samskip, a natural but significant extension of our shipping and logistics activities in Norway to further broaden our customer offerings,” said Asbjorn Gislason, CEO of the Rotterdam-based group.

Samskip agreed with the DSD Group last month to acquire Nor Lines following the Norwegian competition authority’s rejection of an earlier takeover bid by Eimskip, an Icelandic shipping and logistics group.

Samskip has not revealed how much it is paying for Nor Lines, which generates annual revenue of around 110 million euros ($132 million) from short-sea shipping and logistics. Samskip did not say how much the deal was for, but Eimskip’s agreement for Nor Lines was for 15 million euros in cash.

The takeover will make Samskip a major player in the Norwegian market, where it already has a significant presence following several acquisitions and transports around 90,000 TEU per year between the country and North Europe.

Samskip has a 50 percent stake in Bergen-based Silver Sea AS, which operates a fleet of 14 reefer vessels, and its fully-owned frigoCare cold store and terminal in Ålesund serves as an important hub in its own container system and that of Nor Lines.

“Nor Lines’ financial performance has been disappointing in recent years, but we are confident that by combining our respective strengths and refocusing the business we will create synergies, improve efficiency, and provide customers with enhanced services,” Gislason said when the acquisition was announced in late July.

Samskip, originally founded in Iceland in 1990, has annual revenue of more than 630 million euros. Its short-sea shipping business, which transports around 600,000 TEU per year, accounts for over 530 million euros.

Samskip and Eimskip have both showed interest in Nor Lines, but it appears to be for different reasons, as Samskip has been making a clear effort to cement itself in the Norwegian market through acquisitions of short-sea operators. Eimskip meanwhile has been making a series of acquisitions throughout Europe aimed at improving its ability to handle refrigerated shipments.

Contact Bruce Barnard at brucebarnard47@hotmail.com.