Peter Berdowski ceo boskalis

Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis

*UPDATE Boskalis has acquired in excess of 8.5 million shares in Dockwise in the course of trading today. This shareholding represents slightly less than 22% of the shares in Dockwise.As previously announced in the article below, HAL Investments B.V. has irrevocably committed to tender its shares in Dockwise under the intended offer, representing approximately 32% of the outstanding ordinary shares.

(Bloomberg) — Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV, the world’s biggest dredging company, offered 682 million euros ($885 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 closing price on the previous trading day. Boskalis has support from HAL Investments BV, Dockwise’s main shareholder, meaning 31.7 percent of outstanding shares are committed to the offer, the company, based in Papendrecht, the Netherlands, said today. HAL also owns about 32 percent of Boskalis, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

The offer comes after 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 16.99 euros in Amsterdam and traded at 16.90 euros as of 10:29 a.m. local time. The Oslo-listed shares surged at about the same rate. Boskalis declined 2.6 percent to 30.33 euros, while HAL Trust added 3 percent to 95.02 euros.

Deal Financing

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.

Smit Acquisition

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.

Martijn van der Starre and Jasmine Wang, Copyright 2012 Bloomberg.
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