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Seaspan to sink US$200 million into Singapore’s Swiber

Investment in offshore oil and gas engineering company diversifies Vancouver container shipping giant’s portfolio
Seaspan CEO Bing Chen: the Swiber Group investment will “unlock substantial value” for Seaspan | Submitted

Vancouver’s Seaspan Corp. (NYSE:SSW) is set to add another major shipping industry asset to its fleet.

The world’s largest independent containership owner announced today [October 3] that it plans to invest up to US$200 million in the restructured Swiber Holdings Ltd.

Investment in the Singapore-based offshore oil and gas field engineering and construction business follows Seaspan’s acquisition earlier this year of Greater China Intermodal Investments LLC (GCI). The US$1.6 billion deal to acquire the 89% of GCI that it did not own added 18 ships to Seaspan’s fleet of 94 and US$1.3 billion to its contracted revenue.

The Swiber deal, which includes five ships, will give Seaspan an 80% interest in the restructured Swiber Group and a US$180 million investment in a US$1 billion liquefied natural gas-to-power project being developed in Vietnam.

Company CEO Bing Chen said the Swiber investment will “unlock substantial value” for Seaspan.

He told Business in Vancouver earlier this year that the GCI acquisition made sense because it added a diverse set of large and relatively new ships to the company’s fleet.

Seaspan, which plans to fund the Swiber deal with cash on hand, posted earnings of US$88 million on revenue of US$506 million in the first six months of 2018. That compares with profit of US$67 million on revenue of US$406 million for the same period in 2017.

According to Chen, the GCI acquisition gives Seaspan an 8% share of the global containership leasing and management sector, up from around 6.5% prior to the deal.

He said the next biggest player in the sector has a 5% market share.

The financially troubled Swiber Holdings was placed under judicial management in October 2016.

Seaspan’s Swiber deal requires Swiber shareholder and creditor approval. 

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