Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV, the world’s biggest dredging company, offered 682 million euros ($884 million) in an unsolicited bid for Dockwise Ltd. to add ships capable of pulling oil rigs.
Boskalis is offering 17.20 euros a share for Dockwise, a 61 percent premium to the closing price on Nov. 23, it said. The Papendrecht, Netherlands-based company bought more than 8.5 million shares in the course of trading today, building a stake of about 22 percent. HAL Investments BV, Dockwise’s main shareholder with a 31.7 percent interest, has irrevocably committed to tender its shares, Boskalis said.
Dockwise bought Fairstar Heavy Transport NV this year after a takeover offer for the provider of transport vessels to the oil and gas industry was initially rejected as too low. Dockwise will consider the bid from Boskalis though it is capable of continuing on its own, the company said in a statement.
“This is a logical takeover” for Boskalis, Andre Mulder, an Amsterdam-based analyst at Kepler Capital Markets, said in a note to investors. Its strategy is to further expand in offshore equipment, and Dockwise also would add dry towage to its wet towage operations, said Mulder, who has a buy recommendation on Boskalis shares.
Dockwise jumped as much as 59 percent to 17 euros in Amsterdam and traded at 16.92 euros as of 4:04 p.m. local time. The Oslo-listed shares surged at about the same rate. Boskalis declined 0.4 percent to 31 euros, while HAL Trust added 2.1 percent to 94.20 euros.
HAL also owns about 32 percent of Boskalis, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.
Dockwise, based in the Dutch city of Breda, operates 19 vessels including some capable of hauling 400-foot-high oil rigs or 760-foot-long hulls for the Royal Australian Navy’s largest-ever ships. Boskalis will pay for the deal using cash and new debt facilities, including the sale of new equity of as much as 10 percent, it said.
“From a strategic point of view, we were looking for companies that could strengthen our business, particularly in oil and gas and offshore energy, that’s why Dockwise was on our radar,” Boskalis Chief Executive Officer Peter Berdowski said in an interview. “The takeover of Fairstar made us even more interested.”
The combination “will lead to a strong increase” in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to the company. The premium per share is about 35 percent above the average Dockwise closing price over the last three months, Boskalis said.
The purchase would be Berdowski’s second-biggest transaction since he became CEO in 2006. Boskalis agreed to buy Smit Internationale NV, the salvage company that lifted Russian submarine Kursk from the Barents Sea in 2001, for 1.1 billion euros three years ago, capping a yearlong effort to combine the two Dutch companies.
“Dockwise will consider the intended offer to assess its merits, risks and the consequences for the company, and its shareholders, as well as its employees and other stakeholders, compared with the stand-alone strategy of Dockwise and other alternatives,” the company said. Dockwise is well-suited to manage its next steps on a standalone basis, it said.
“We don’t expect a counter bid,” Tijs Hollestelle, an Amsterdam-based analyst at ING Groep, said in a note. “We consider the chance that Boskalis has to raise its offer limited and hence believe the deal has a high chance of success on the current terms,” said Hollestelle, who has a buy recommendation on Boskalis.
Dockwise merged with Sealift Ltd. and got a full listing in Norway in 2007.