Lauritzen Kosan and Tschudi & Eitzen form new joint venture

Sep 13, 2001 02:00 AM

The biggest small gas carrier owner is born. A new joint venture company, Sigas Kosan, is being established by Lauritzen Kosan of Denmark and Norway's Tschudi & Eitzen group in a move to promote consolidation among small gas carrier owners.
Among the vessels joining the Sigas Kosan joint venture is the 1,760-cm Linda Kosan (built 1992). Sigas Kosan, with a fleet of 16 LPG carriers of below 3,000-cm, will be a major force at the smaller end of the fragmented gas tanker market.
Lauritzen Kosen president, Jan Kastrup-Nielsen, tells that consolidation is overdue and he would welcome approaches from other owners interested in co-operation. The venture will be based in Copenhagen in the Lauritzen offices, but managing director of the venture will be Anders Rasmussen from Tschudi & Eitzen.
Seven of the vessels are coming from Tschudi & Eitzen and nine from Lauritzen Kosan, the gas carrying arm of Denmark s J Lauritzen reefer, gas and bulk carrier shipping empire. The combined fleet will be primarily employed in the European distribution of LPG and petrochemical gases with common commercial management but separate technical management.

Kastrup-Nielsen says consolidation has been a feature of the market for larger gas carriers over 10,000-cm with A.P. Moller, Exmar and Bergesen operating either pools or substantial fleets in the various sectors. But at the smaller end of the market where operators include Anthony Veder, Unigas, Chemgas, Gaschem, Navion and a number of small Italian owners and traders fragmentation remains.
Putting the deal together was eased by a number of top Tschudi & Eitzen having Lauritzen links. These include Tschudi & Eitzen COO, Bjarne Tvilde, who is ex-Lauritzen and Rasmussen who was previously with Kosan. Kastrup-Nielsen says the joint venture, through having a larger pool of LPG carriers to call upon, will be able to offer customers in the chemical, oil and heating sectors increased security of supply.

The timing also looks good from the ship owning side as the small gas carrier sector, which recovered from years of losses only nine months ago, seems to be facing a new downturn as a result of a chemical industry downturn as well as wider economic trends. Lauritzen Kosan will continue to operate 21 larger gas carriers outside the Sigas Kosan joint venture.
This fleet will be swelled by two from November when Tschudi & Eitzen transfer commercial management of the 4,563-cm Sigas General (built 1982) and 4,597-dwt Sigas Governer (built 1983) to Lauritzen Kosan.

Source: Maritimepress
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