Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE:ANW) announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Verbeke Bunkering N.V., a physical supplier of marine fuel in the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Amsterdam (ARA) region, the world's second largest bunkering market. The acquisition, which is subject to the completion of detailed documentation, is scheduled to close by the end of the first quarter of 2010.
Verbeke Bunkering is majority owned by the fourth generation of the Verbeke family, which has an operating history of more than 100 years initially in shipping and subsequently in bunkering. As a physical supplier, Verbeke Bunkering covers the entire ARA region, including key ports surrounding Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam such as Ghent, Zeebruges, Flushing, Terneuzen, and Sluiskil. The company provides bunkering services in port to a diverse group of ship operators as well as marine fuel traders, brokers and other users. Verbeke focuses on purchasing quality marine fuels from refineries and major oil producers and providing same-day sales and delivery services to customers. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2009, the volume of marine fuel sold by Verbeke is expected to total approximately 3,500,000 metric tons.
Verbeke Bunkering operates a total of 18 bunkering vessels, of which nine are owned and nine are chartered-in. Two of the nine owned vessels are joint ventures in which Verbeke holds a minority stake. In connection with the acquisition, Aegean has agreed to purchase the nine owned bunkering vessels and assume the contracts for the nine vessels chartered-in by Verbeke. Additionally, Aegean will assume the contract for a bunkering tanker newbuilding, of which Verbeke holds a 50% stake, scheduled to be delivered in 2010.
E. Nikolas Tavlarios, President of Aegean, commented, "The accretive acquisition of Verbeke represents our largest acquisition to date, positioning Aegean well to significantly increase future sales volumes and strengthen the company's global brand recognition. Based on its extensive operating history and strong reputation for high-quality service, Verbeke has built a leading market position in the ARA region. We intend to capitalize on the favorable growth prospects in the world's second largest bunkering market and meet the demand for our comprehensive marine fuel services. In addition to establishing a strategic presence in this important region with considerable ship traffic, we expect to realize meaningful operating synergies with our Belgium-based subsidiary, Bunkers at Sea, which Aegean acquired in 2007."
Tavlarios added, "Including our latest acquisition, Aegean has more than tripled its global reach since the company's IPO in December 2006. Consistent with management's opportunistic approach to consolidating the marine fuel supply industry in a disciplined manner, we expect to further expand Aegean's global market share and increase the Company's earnings power."
Upon closing of the acquisition, Verbeke will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Aegean and maintain its headquarters located near Antwerp. Verbeke will continue to be led by its Chief Executive Officer, Tony Vertommen.