GulfNav targets expansion with offshore oil and gas acquisition

Offshore drilling platforms in Singapore. The UAE-based shipping company Gulf Navigation is in talks to acquire a majority stake in Singapore-listed Atlantic Navigation as part of its plans to expand into the offshore oil and gas sector. (Reuters)
Updated 29 January 2018

GulfNav targets expansion with offshore oil and gas acquisition

LONDON: The UAE-based shipping company Gulf Navigation (GulfNav) is in talks to acquire a majority stake in Singapore-listed Atlantic Navigation as part of its plans to expand into the offshore oil and gas sector in the Gulf.
“This investment marks a major milestone in Gulf Navigation’s strategy to grow our offering to our customers in the regional offshore oil and gas sector. At the same time it gives Gulf Navigation a significant position in the GCC regional OSV O&G market,” said Khamis Juma Buamim, group CEO of GulfNav, in a statement.
Atlantic operates a fleet of 25 vessels including offshore cargo barges, offshore supply vessels and lift boats. It also has a 50 percent share in a consortium to work on a $45 million deconstruction project with a Middle East-based national oil company, a GulfNav statement said. The project involves demolishing and removing offshore and onshore structures at an abandoned oil field in Abu Dhabi.
The planned acquisition is another step in GulfNav’s growth plans launched in July 2016 as it aims to respond to the anticipated demand for the shipping of petroleum and petrochemical products.
GulfNav set a target to double the size of its fleet of chemical tankers and offshore vessels to 20 ships by 2020 as well as increase its revenues by 300 percent by 2021.
In line with that strategy, GulfNav announced on Jan. 2 said it would increase the company’s capital by approximately 448 million dirhams ($121.9 million) to reach a total share capital of 1 billion dirhams. The offering will be launched in the first quarter of this year.
“Many GCC countries have allocated more than $140 billion over the next decade to expand their production,” said Buamim in a statement earlier this month, citing Saudi Aramco as an example which is looking to increase its oil refining capacity from 2.9 million to 3.3 million barrels per day by 2020.
“We are confident that we have all the required expertise to win a large share of this market, and we plan to be ready by having the capabilities and the fleet size sufficient to keep up with this expansion,” he said.
The company said this month it would refinance two petrochemical carriers Gulf Mishref and Gulf Mirdif to increase the firm’s fleet capacity. The vessels have the capacity to carry more than 26,000 tons each of chemical cargo. They will operate on the East Coast of the US, the Gulf of Mexico and will travel between the coast of West Africa and Europe.
Signs of a revival in GulfNav’s fortunes follow a major financial restructuring after it posted a net loss of 147.83 million dirhams in 2012. At the time the company cited poor trading conditions in the VLCC market and a tightening lending market.
The company had to sell two of its VLCCs, Gulf Sheba and Gulf Eyadeh, about four years ago.


A sham Qatar deal could have cost ex Barclays exec $64m, court hears

Updated 2 min 59 sec ago

A sham Qatar deal could have cost ex Barclays exec $64m, court hears

  • Roger Jenkins stood to get “good leaver” package -lawyer
  • Defense lawyers tell jury SFO case is misconceived, perverse

LONDON: A former top Barclays executive, on trial in London on fraud charges, would have risked a £50 million ($64 million) “good leaver” package if he had sought a criminal deal with Qatar during the credit crisis, a court heard on Thursday.
It would have been “lunacy” for Roger Jenkins, one of three men charged with fraud over undisclosed payments to Qatar during emergency fundraisings in 2008, to risk such accrued benefits and a job that had paid him 38 million pounds in 2007 alone, his lawyer told a jury at the Old Bailey criminal court.
The high-profile Serious Fraud Office (SFO) case revolves around how Barclays — one of the few major British banks to survive the credit crisis without direct government aid — raised more than 11 billion pounds ($14 billion) from Qatar and other investors to avert a state bailout as markets roiled.
Prosecutors allege that former top executives lied to the market and other investors by not properly disclosing 322 million pounds paid to Qatar, disguised as “bogus” advisory services agreements (ASAs), in return for around four billion pounds in two fundraisings over 2008.
Jenkins, the former head of the bank’s Middle East business, Tom Kalaris, who ran the wealth division and Richard Boath, a former head of European financial institutions, deny charges of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and fraud by false representation.
Lawyers for Jenkins and Kalaris told the jury the case against their clients was misconceived, perverse and illogical and that there was no evidence the ASAs were a sham or fake.
In brief opening speeches before the prosecution continues laying out its case, they alleged the defendants believed the ASAs were genuine agreements to secure lucrative business for Barclays in the Middle East — a region it was keen to exploit.
They said the agreements were side deals during emergency fundraising that June and October that had been approved by internal and external lawyers and cleared by the board.
“The unequivocal, repeated advice was that this was legitimate — providing the ASA was a genuine contract for the provision of benefits to Barclays,” said John Kelsey-Fry, a senior lawyer representing Jenkins.
Jenkins, who will give evidence later, had pursued and won the trust of Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar, and wanted to unseat Credit Suisse as the wealthy, gas-rich Gulf state’s preferred bankers, the jury heard.
Had Jenkins considered a fraudulent deal with Sheikh Hamad, the sheikh might have rung up Barclays bosses and said: “Neither I nor QIA (the sovereign wealth fund) are putting a penny in a bank like yours. I will never do business with you again,” Kelsey-Fry said.
Qatar Holding, part of QIA, invested in Barclays alongside Challenger, Sheikh Hamad’s investment vehicle.
The case against Kalaris, meanwhile, hung on three conversations he had had with Boath on the afternoon of June 11, 2008, that the prosecution had “fundamentally misunderstood,” his lawyer Ian Winter said.
When Kalaris told Boath: “Noone wants to go to jail here” and that lawyers would provide “air cover,” he was trying to ensure that a genuine ASA would be approved by legal experts as a legitimate means of paying Qatar for real value, Winter said.
All three men, aged between 60 and 64, are charged over the June fundraising. Jenkins, alone, also faces charges over the October fundraising.
The trial is scheduled to last around five months.