MSC Offers $700 Million for Gram Car Carriers

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MSC Offers $700 Million for Gram Car Carriers

Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has initiated a bid of $700 million to acquire Norway’s Gram Car Carriers, the third-largest provider of pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) tonnage in the world. The bid will be made through MSC’s subsidiary SAS Shipping Agencies Services (SAS) and has already received the approval of Gram’s board. The Offer Price, along with a dividend payout for the first quarter, represents a premium of 28.3% over Gram’s previous closing price. Shareholders, including board members and executive management, who collectively hold about 55.85% of the outstanding share capital, have agreed to accept the offer under certain terms and conditions. Gram currently operates a fleet of 18 vessels ranging from 2000 to 7000 CEU.

The global car carrier market has attracted the interest of cash-rich container carriers following the significant increase in Chinese auto exports, which rose by 58% in 2023. In May 2023, CMA CGM also announced its investment in the sector. However, while MSC has opted to invest directly in a tonnage provider, CMA CGM has chosen to charter tonnage from Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) for operation by its subsidiary, CEVA Logistics. CMA CGM recently received the second of four 7,000 CEU LNG dual-fuel roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) newbuildings from EPS in February of this year. Other players like COSCO SHIPPING and HMM have also made recent investments in the sector.

In contrast, Maersk divested its remaining stake in Hoegh Autoliners in November 2023, ending a 15-year investment. This week, Italian ferry owner Emanuele Grimaldi acquired a 5.12% stake in Hoegh Autoliners, becoming its second-largest shareholder.

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