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GDF Suez’s GTT to Sell Shares Amid LNG-Shipping Growth

Gaztransport & Technigaz SA, the engineering company owned by France’s GDF Suez SA and Total SA, plans to sell shares in 2014 in an initial public offering.

Gaztransport & Technigaz, a maker of liners for liquefied natural gas tankers, plans to expand its shareholders to have “greater visibility over and bring further impetus to the group’s growth strategy,” the company known as GTT said today in a statement. The size of the offering isn’t yet decided.

Demand for LNG transportation and storage has grown as Asian countries use more of the fuel to replace shuttered nuclear generation. GTT’s membrane technology is used by shipbuilders Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co.

The company, based in Saint-Remy-les-Chevreuse outside Paris, is 40 percent-owned by GDF Suez, while Total and private equity firm Hellman & Friedman LLC each have 30 percent. The company was formed in 1994 through the merger of Gaztransport and SN Technigaz, its website shows. Total has announced a plan to sell $15 billion to $20 billion of assets from 2012 to 2014.

A spokesman for Total declined to comment.

Total and Hellman will offload part of their stakes in the IPO, GTT Chief Executive Officer Philippe Berterottiere told reporters today in Paris. Hellman invested in the company in 2008 when it was valued at 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion), he said, without estimating the business’s current value.

Net Income

GTT reported net income of 86.6 million euros for the first nine months on sales of 156.9 million euros, according to the IPO document on its website. Net income was 39.6 million euros for the whole of last year on sales of 89.5 million euros.

The margin on earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was 54 percent last year, and 67 percent in the first nine months of 2013, according to a company presentation.

There were 31 orders for LNG vessels with GTT membranes in the first nine months, up from 21 for all of last year and 38 for 2011, according to the document. GTT has a market share of about 70 percent, Berterottiere said. The cost of its liners, about 15 percent cheaper than rival products, make up 4 percent of the about $215 million expense of LNG vessels, he said.

Moss Maritime AS is among competitors, GTT said.

The company has “very good profitability and a big market share,” Berterottiere said. It has strong cash-flow generation, no debt and “very little” capital expenditure, he said.

Growth is expected as a U.S. shale-gas boom spurs exports to Japan and South Korea, where demand for the fuel is rising after nuclear plants were closed, according to the CEO.

GTT plans to capture 84 percent to 87 percent of the market for new LNG carriers through 2023, according to the IPO document. It also sees market expansion in so-called bunkering, or increased use of smaller vessels, as well as expanded use of its membranes in onshore storage equipment and cryogenic pipelines.

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