Big shipbroker merger looms

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One of Norway’s major ship brokerage firms, RS Platou, looks set to be taken over by Clarkson of London, in a deal that could net more than NOK 3 billion (USD 441 million) for Platou’s partners and other shareholders.

Clarkson notified the London Stock Exchange just before the weekend that it was working on a possible acquisition of RS Platou and its subsidiaries within ship-, offshore- and stock-broking  along with financial consulting. The two longtime rivals, rooted in brokering cargoes for shipowners, now apparently think that teaming up will result in what Platou’s veteran boss Peter M Anker called “a strong combination.”

Anker told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that both firms’ customers “have become larger and more demanding. Being able to offer quality service globally demands size and investment in people, analysis and technical solutions. We think a merger of Clarkson and Platou will make it possible to offer good, integrated services as well as revenue and cost synergy.”

Clarkson is much bigger than Platou, in terms of revenues and employees, but Platou is more profitable. DN reported that Clarkson currently has just over 1,000 employees compared to Platou’s 370. Platou’s largest shareholders include the Horn and Gram families followed by Anker with 5.8 percent, Gustave Brun-Lie with 4.8 percent and Wilhelm Holst with 4.4 percent. Anker, who’s been the main public face of Platou for more than 25 years, stands to reap an estimated NOK 174 million if the deal, subject to an evaluation of values at Platou, goes through.

newsinenglish.no staff