Saudi shipper Bahri targets acquisitions in Asia, Middle East

Saudi Arabia's Bahri, the world's largest owner of very large crude carriers, is seeking acquisitions in Asia and the Middle East. (Reuters)
Updated 07 November 2018

Saudi shipper Bahri targets acquisitions in Asia, Middle East

  • Bahri is world's biggest owner of VLCCs
  • Targets listed firm in Asia

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Bahri is targeting acquisitions in Asia and the Middle East as the exclusive oil shipper for state energy giant Saudi Aramco seeks to expand its reach, the chief executive said on Wednesday.
Bahri is the world’s largest owner and operator of very large crude carriers (VLCCs). Saudi sovereign wealth fund the Public Investment Fund (PIF) owns 22 percent of the company and Aramco has a 20 percent stake.
“We are looking at multiple acquisitions in the Middle East and Asia worth tens of millions of dollars,” Bahri CEO Abdullah Aldubaikhi told Reuters.
“We want to tap into a new area related to the maritime sector by acquiring companies offering services that are not currently available within Bahri’s portfolio,” he said, without specifying what services would be added.
The company aimed to buy a listed firm in Asia in a deal that would probably be completed in the third quarter of 2019, he said, without elaborating.
Bahri transports Saudi Aramco’s VLCC cargoes on a cost, insurance and freight (CIF) basis, making it the world’s busiest oil shipper.
It transports crude oil, chemicals and dry bulk. It also offers ship management services. In 2014 it merged with the former shipping arm of Aramco, Vela Marine International.
Acquisitions in the pipeline will be financed from the company’s own funds and banking finance, Aldubaikhi said.
The company, which has 45 VLCCs, plans to add 15 more to its fleet through a $1.5 billion investment fund it launched in 2017 with Arab Petroleum Investments Corp. (APICORP).
The APICORP Bahri Oil Shipping Fund (ABOSF) will raise $1.5 billion in three stages raising $500 million each time. APICORP will contribute 85 percent of the funds and Bahri the rest.
The first $500 million phase would be raised in the first quarter of 2019 and the second tranche would probably be completed in the second quarter of 2020, Aldubaikhi said.
Bahri reported a 34.4 percent increase in third quarter net profit to SR81.3 million ($22.7 million) after zakat and tax, versus SR60.5 million a year earlier.
“We are expanding and growing, and although the shipping industry is cyclical, I think it has bottomed out in 2018,” Aldubaikhi said. “The cycle of the shipping industry in 2019 will improve, and the years 2020 and 2021 will be the golden years for this industry.”


Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

Updated 22 min 47 sec ago

Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

LONDON: Arab News has published the recording of an interview with a Nissan lawyer after he denied saying that a bailout of Lebanon by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was linked to the extradition of fugitive tycoon Carlos Ghosn.

The former Nissan chairman fled to Beirut in December from Japan, where he faced charges of financial wrongdoing.

In a story published in Arab News Japan on Saturday, Sakher El Hachem, Nissan’s legal representative in Lebanon, said the multibillion-dollar IMF bailout was contingent on Ghosn being handed back to Japan. 

The lawyer said IMF support for Lebanon required Japan’s agreement. Lebanese officials had told him: “Japan will assist Lebanon if Ghosn gets extradited,” the lawyer said

“For Japan to agree on that they want the Lebanese authorities to extradite Ghosn, otherwise they won’t provide Lebanon with financial assistance. Japan is one of the IMF’s major contributors … if Japan vetoes Lebanon then the IMF won’t give Lebanon money, except after deporting Ghosn.”

On Sunday, El Hachem denied making the comments. “The only thing I told the newspaper was that there should have been a court hearing on April 30 in Lebanon, but it was postponed because of the pandemic,” he said. In response, Arab News published the recording of the interview, in which he can be clearly heard making the statements attributed to him. 

Japan issued an arrest warrant after Ghosn, 66, escaped house arrest and fled the country.