March 16 - Shareholders in Wilh. Wilhelmsen are to be asked to allow a restructuring of the company that will see the company's shipping and logistics segment separated from the maritime services under the control of a new group parent company.
In the new group structure, the shipping and logistics activities of today's Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA will be carried out by a new Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA. A newly incorporated company, Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA, will be the new parent company of the WW group, as well as the majority shareholder of new WW ASA and the only shareholder of Wilhelmsen Maritime Services AS.
"The reason for the restructuring is to position the group for future growth," says Wilhelm Wilhelmsen, chair of WW. "With the restructuring we are creating the only listed pure play car/ro-ro and logistics company in the world. The recent market corrections have created opportunities for players with strong balance sheets and we need to ensure that we are prepared to act on opportunities that might arise. A separate listing strengthens the possibility for growing the shipping and logistics activities even further."
Early media reports suggest that Thomas Wilhelmsen will be chairman of the new shipping and logistics spin-off, while Jan-Eyvin Wang, boss of car-carrier specialist Eukor, will take over as CEO of the shipping and logistics company.
The WW group intends to raise USD 200-400 million of new equity in the IPO of new WW ASA and has entered into an underwriting agreement with a group of current shareholders, partners and certain underwriting banks which has raised USD 200m so far.
The proposed changes are subject to approval at the annual general meeting of Wilh. Wilhelmsen to be held on 15 April 2010, with restructuring occuring by the end of June 2010.