Smit Internationale, the biggest marine-salvage company, may be heading for a takeover two months after rejecting a $300m bid for its oil-tanker towing unit.
The shares, already lifted by record crude prices, have jumped 25 percent since Chief Executive Officer Ben Vree rebuffed the offer for Smit Terminals from Royal Boskalis Westminster NV, the world's largest dredging company, and a Saudi partner. The unit tows vessels to offshore oil and gas terminals.
A complete takeover would add 399 vessels and allow the rejected suitor to overtake Svitzer, part of A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, as the owner of the world's largest tugboat fleet. Rotterdam-based Smit is ready to hold talks, the report said.
As oil surged to a record, Smit has jumped 38 percent in the past three months, compared with a 23 percent increase in the Bloomberg Europe Oil & Gas Services Index. Smit is valued at 11 times estimated 2008 earnings per share, compared with 16 for France's Bourbon SA, owner of the world's biggest fleet of supply ships for deepwater oil exploration. The Paris-based company's shares have fallen 7 percent this year.
Smit shares closed at a record $113.05 in trading on April 25, up 0.6 percent. Three analysts in a Bloomberg survey recommend buying, one says to hold, and one advises selling.
By December, Smit's boats will start serving an LNG import terminal off the Italian coast for 25 years for a venture led by Exxon Mobil Corp. and Qatar Petroleum. Smit plans to borrow 400 million euros in the next five years to build vessels, including 44 to be delivered in 2008, the company said.