Consolidation in the German ship management sector is gaining momentum with Bremen-based Zeaborn Group acquiring 100 percent of the shares in ship management company E.R. Schiffahrt for an undisclosed amount.

The deal, which takes retrospective effect from January 1, 2018, includes E.R. Schiffahrt's management, staff and subsidiaries, including the shipbroker Harper Petersen & Co.

All will be integrated into the Zeaborn Group, growing the latter's fleet of vessels under commercial and technical management by 61 container vessels and 20 bulk carriers, to more than 165 ships.

The completion of the transaction is subject to antitrust clearance.

Managing partners of Zeaborn, Ove Meyer and Jan-Hendrik Többe, said: "We are very pleased that in E.R. Schiffahrt we were able to add a well-known shipping manager to our group of companies, which is a great fit for our portfolio and with whom we can further optimise our services for our customers.

"Our approach remains the same: we are an integrated shipping company that is open for partnerships and acquisitions. Going forward, we will continue to drive further growth thanks to our clear organisational structure, for example through the rapid integration of additional tonnage and businesses."

Nils Aden, currently chief executive officer of E.R. Schiffahrt, will be responsible for the joint ship management activities at Zeaborn, while Simon Aust remains ceo of Harper Petersen.

"The consolidation in the German ship management sector has has long been overdue and Zeaborn is pursuing a dynamic growth strategy," explained Jochen Klösges, ceo of E.R. Capital Holding. "E.R. Schiffahrt is a profitable company that is extremely well managed. Combined with Zeaborn's existing activities, the company will now reach the critical size that is necessary to successfully compete on a global scale."

With its latest acquisition, Zeaborn is growing rapidly as a major player in the global shipping industry. This is the latest move involving companies owned by the Rickmers family. Last year it rescued Rickmers Shipmanagement from its insolvent parent having earlier acquired heavy lift and multipurpose semi-liner company Rickmers-Linie.