May 31 - Mangrove Holdings Pte Ltd has rejected an offer made by joint venture partner ASCO Holdings Ltd for the shares it holds in ASCO Freight Management Pte Ltd (ASCO Singapore) and says it has made a counter offer to acquire ASCO Holdings' majority sh

Commenting on the discussions, Neil Johnson, CEO of Mangrove, noted: "We believe ASCO Holdings' offer significantly underestimates the value of the market for oil and gas logistics services in the region, places minimal value on the existing client base and ignores the results the ASCO Singapore team have shown in building a solid presence in Asia."

Noting that under Mangrove's stewardship, ASCO delivered a steady stream of underlying profits, Johnson added: "Billions of dollars of both opex and capex are planned for oil and gas within the region, all of which will have a major logistics component. It is a market in which Mangrove will continue to invest and we are actively seeking further acquisitions to complement our investment in ASCO Singapore."

Mangrove presently owns 20 percent of ASCO Singapore with the balance held by its joint venture partner ASCO Holdings Ltd.

Earlier this year, Johnson stepped down from his day to day role as managing director of ASCO Freight Management Pte Ltd, having led the business from its founding in 2009.

Commenting on the decision at the time, Johnson noted, "The business is primed and ready for the next stage in its growth and now is the ideal time for someone to come in, get their feet under the table and continue the excellent work that we have been doing for the past three years. We have built a business which is differentiated from its peers by an unrivalled commitment to North Sea safety standards, world-beating customer service and the constant drive for value for clients in everything we do."

Earlier this month, ASCO Group announced the appointment of Derek Smith, group chief operating officer (COO) to the position of group chief executive officer (CEO), replacing Billy Allan who has become the group's executive chairman.

Derek Smith joined ASCO in 2007 and has been the COO for the past 12 months. Prior to that, he was the chief executive of ASCO's Europe, Middle East and North Africa region.

"Derek has many years of experience with ASCO and has played a fundamental role in the recent growth of its business worldwide, including the acquisition of five new businesses. He is very well placed to steer the next chapter of ASCO's growth and I look forward to supporting him in this role as Executive Chairman." said Allan.