Friday, September 22, 2006

Samskip - Sell something / Buy something / Keep growing!

Samskip to buy Odiel Bilbao’s short-sea activities

Samskip continues growth trend through acquisition...and they bulk up their "Containerlogistics" activity.

Recent consolidation in the European short-sea industry continues with Icelandic carrier Samskip reaching agreement to take over Spanish line Odiel Bilbao SA from its Madrid-based holding company Naviera del Odiel SA. No financial details were disclosed.

Eimskip, owned by the Avion Group, has also purchased the remaining 30 percent equity stake in Lithuania-based European short-sea container shipping line Kursiu Linija, becoming its wholly owned parent.

Effective Oct. 1., all of Odiel Bilbao's staff and short-sea activities will transfer over to Samskip's newly established subsidiary, Samskip Multimodal Containerlogistics SA.

In late 2003, Odiel Bilbao and Geest North Sea Line, acquired by Samskip last year, started a joint service linking Bilbao with Tilbury in the United Kingdom and Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.

"The establishment of the new business reflects the group's ambitions to continue strengthening its position in the European 45-foot container market, whereas Naviera del Odiel wishes to focus on its activities in other segments of the shipping industry," Samskip said in a statement.

"Increasing volumes of cargo are originating in Spain and the Spanish market still relies on trailers to a great extent," said Gerard de Groot, Geest's commercial director. "Furthermore, with road haulage costs ever on the increase, Spanish manufacturers need other options for their shipments to the U.K., Ireland, Benelux, Germany, Scandinavia, Baltic and Russia, so the provision of efficient short-sea alternatives is vital. Due to our ability to meet the needs of the market I believe the business has great potential for growth."

Samskip will later this year drop the names of Geest and Seawheel, the U.K. company it also bought last year, to operate under a single brand, before transferring all of its international operations into a new building in Rotterdam's Old Port area early next year.

With Kursiu Linija, Eimskip has since May been gradually increasing its share in the company from 50 percent to 70 percent and now finally complete ownership. The Reykjavik-based company said it paid 8 million euros ($10.2 million) for the entire 100 percent stake.

Kursiu Linija operates six vessels ranging from 300 to 650 TEUs calling on three services: between the Baltic States and Poland and the United Kingdom and Benelux; between Germany and Kaliningrad; and between Germany and Lithuania and Sweden.

Other notable transactions of late include Antwerp, Belgium-based Delphis' takeovers of Portlink from A.P. Moller-Maersk subsidiary Safmarine Container Lines and Team Lines, North Europe's second-largest feeder operator, from Finnish carrier Finnlines.