In a merger between equals, the joining of Wilhelmsen & Wallenius Lines has created a market setting ro-ro powerhouse.
In April, Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA and Wallenius Lines created the world’s largest Ro/Ro-Pure Car Truck Carriers operator, with 78-vessels owned, another 39 on charter and six more now being built. The newly merged Wallenius Wilhemsen Logistics ASA, or WWL, also established a logistics powerhouse, with an impressive global presence in port, technical and inland services.
The structure of the transaction was noteworthy as well. This was a true combination of equals, unusual in the world of mergers and acquisitions. Wallenius was a private, family-owned company from Sweden. Wilhelmsen was from Norway and, while owned primarily by the Wilhelmsen family, was listed on the Oslo Exchange. Each of the two ended up with exactly the same ownership percentage of the merged entity: 37.8%. The remaining 24.4% is freely floated in the marketplace, shares having been sold down by Wallenius, to mostly institutional investors. The sale was substantially oversubscribed.
WWL is now listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, where it is actively traded. Its market cap now tips $2.5 billion. Shares have increased 25% in value since its April debut, which technically took over the Wilhelmsen listing.
“It’s been very well received by the investment community,” said Andreas Wikborg, an Oslo-based shipping analyst with the brokerage firm Arctic Securities (Arctic Securities was one of the bookrunners on the sell-down of shares.)
That $2.5 billion market cap ranks WWL the eighth largest publicly traded liner logistics company in the world, although it’s still tiny compared to Danish liner A.P. Moller-Maersk, which is one of the biggest transport companies in the world, with a market cap of almost $40 billion…
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