Fincantieri Said to Bid for STX OSV Stake

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fincantieri SpA, the Italian state-controlled shipbuilder, is among final bidders for a stake in STX OSV Holdings Ltd., the world’s largest maker of offshore support vessels, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

An investment fund also made an offer, one person said, declining to identify the bidder. South Korea’s STX Group, which is seeking to sell its 51 percent stake in Singapore-listed STX OSV, may conclude a deal next month, the person said, asking not to be identified because the process is confidential.

STX Group’s stake is worth $809 million based on yesterday’s closing price, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Singapore’s takeover guidelines require any buyer of more than 30 percent of a publicly-traded company to make an offer for the rest of the stock. STX OSV, based in Alesund, Norway, has a market value of S$2 billion.

The company may draw bids as energy exploration in new offshore fields bolsters demand for vessels used to move and supply rigs. Deep-water explorers are projected to spend a record $232 billion on new equipment in the next five years, according to Canterbury, U.K.-based researcher Douglas-Westwood.

STX OSV is “definitely well positioned in terms of what they do and long-term industry demand trends,” said Vincent Fernando, an analyst at Religare Capital Markets (Singapore) Pte Ltd.

Deep water is clearly the future for the oil and gas offshore investment,” he said.

Fincantieri, which builds cruise ships, ferries and luxury yachts, is owned by Fintecna SpA, a company controlled by Italy’s finance ministry. A spokeswoman at Fincantieri declined to comment on the company’s interest in STX OSV.

STX Group, also parent of the world’s fourth-largest shipbuilder, said in October that it plans to raise more than 1.3 trillion won ($1.1 billion) early this year by selling overseas assets and bonds to repay maturing debt. In January, the company said that it had hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Standard Chartered Plc. to arrange the sale of its STX OSV stake.

STX OSV won orders worth 11.1 billion kroner ($1.9 billion) last year, including 6.03 billion kroner in the fourth quarter. Its order book stood at 16.7 billion kroner at the end of December with deliveries stretching into 2016.

The vessel-builder has yards in Europe, Asia and Brazil. It is building a second facility in the South American nation, as Petroleo Brasileiro SA drills new wells off the country’s coastline.

The company was bought by STX Group through the takeover of Aker Yards ASA, completed in February, 2009. It sold a stake in an initial public offering in November, 2010. (Bloomberg)


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