Release Date:
Release ID: 824

Höegh Autoliners strengthens its platform for growth

Höegh Autoliners and A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S has announced their agreement for A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S to become a shareholder in Höegh Autoliners holding 37.5 per cent of the shares effective from 1 January 2008. Leif Höegh & Co Limited will retain the position as majority shareholder in Höegh Autoliners.

At the same time Höegh Autoliners acquires A. P. Moller - Maersk’s fleet of 18 car carriers (including six newbuildings). Höegh Autoliners will commercially operate the combined fleet of about 67 vessels globally from its offices in Oslo and about 30 locations world-wide under the Höegh Autoliners brand. Vessels already ordered by the Company will grow its carrying capacity by 45 per cent to 85 ships in 2012. Closing of the transaction is expected to take place in March 2008 once any applicable regulatory approvals have been received.

In doing this transaction, the parties build on their existing tonnage cooperation. The two parties entered a tonnage co-operation agreement effective from 1 February 2007 whereby A. P. Moller - Maersk entered its fleet of 12 car carriers into a commercial operation controlled by Höegh Autoliners. This has worked to both parties satisfaction adding valuable capacity to Höegh Autoliners’ operation in a period when customers’ transportation requirements are growing.

With A.P. Moller - Maersk as a shareholder, Höegh Autoliners will strengthen its financial and strategic position for further growth and its ability to provide increased capacity and enhanced services to meet customers’ requirements. A. P. Moller - Maersk is well recognized as a world leading company within shipping, logistics, port operations and port to port efficiency.

“We welcome A.P. Moller - Maersk as shareholder in Höegh Autoliners,” says Westye Høegh, Chairman of the Board. “When my father, Leif Høegh, ordered his first vessel, M/T Varg from Odense Staalskibsværft in 1927, Mr. A.P. Møller took a stake in the vessel. That was the start of a prosperous voyage, and having A.P. Moller - Maersk on board again makes a strong company even stronger and well positioned for exciting developments in challenging waters ahead.”

“Through the shareholding in Höegh Autoliners we are looking forward to moving from being a tonnage provider in the car carrier market to participating directly in a world class car carrier liner operation. We find the outlook for the industry attractive as car manufacturing increasingly takes place in Asia and as new markets in India and China develop. We believe in Höegh Autoliners’ strategy and believe we can contribute positively to the cooperation based on our Group’s capabilities within liner shipping and logistics” says Søren Skou, Partner & Member of Group Executive Board of A. P. Moller - Maersk.

“With A.P. Moller - Maersk as a partner we have secured a platform for continued growth and enhanced our position for further strengthening our services,” says Thor Jørgen Guttormsen, CEO of Höegh Autoliners. “This improves our ability to meet our customers’ current and future requirements for services and transportation volume and strengthens our strategic implementation capacity.”

Growth strategy is enhanced

Höegh Autoliners’ strategy is to grow with its global customers offering worldwide transportation services based on the core competencies as a port to port transportation provider and to be a network partner providing these services in a network of dedicated logistics suppliers.

Strong customer growth is motivating expansion and new ways of thinking

The world production of factory new cars has grown steadily to about 65 million units in 2007. World car production is expected to continue growing to about 90 million units in 2015 representing an annual growth rate of 3-4%. Historically about 15% of the production volume is exported overseas.

The globalisation of the car manufacturing industry has brought about changes in the global production patterns which are affecting seaborne transportation positively resulting in additional demand for transportation services.

On this background Höegh Autoliners expects continued growth in the market for Ro/Ro car carriers and experiences that customers consider future transportation capacity to be of high strategic importance.

The current market situation is characterized by capacity squeeze.


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