Ultrapetrol Ltd., a Bahamas-based shipping company, is scheduled to go public next week with an initial public offering
of 12.5 million shares.
Shares are expected to price between $13 and $15 per share and trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol "ULTR." Assuming shares price in the middle of that range, the company expects to raise net proceeds of about $160.2 million.
The company plans to use most of the proceeds to repay debt, although Ultrapetrol said it earmarked $20 million to help fund construction of two platform supply vessels being built in Brazil. It plans to use another $17.3 million for general corporate purposes.
Ultrapetrol operates four business segments: river, offshore supply, ocean and passenger. The river business comprises 490 barges that transport dry bulk and liquid cargo through the Hidrovia Region of South America to ports served by ocean export vessels. The company is presently growing its river business through the addition of 22 barges and is also replacing the diesel engines on its push boats with engines that burn less expensive heavy fuel oil.
The company's offshore supply business comprises four platform supply vessels currently in operation and two scheduled for delivery in 2007 and 2008. The business services the oil and gas exploration industry in Brazil and the North Sea. Its ocean business consists of three Suezmax tankers and one each of a Aframax tanker, barge unit and product tanker. It ships both dry bulk and liquefied commodities.
The company's passenger business consists of two cruise vessels with a combined carrying capacity of about 1,600 passengers and operates mostly in the Europe. The vessels are employed under seasonal charters with a tour operator. Ultrapetrol said it wants to expand their coverage outside the European travel season.
Key competitors across Ultrapetrol's business segments include Transpetro, a subsidiary of Brazil's national oil company Petrobras, as well as Maersk Co. Ltd., Seacor Holdings Inc. and Tidewater Inc.