Tuesday, February 1, 2000


Star Cruises wins round in battle for NCL
Norway's Industry Ministry has ruled that NCL is a shipping company. This means it is exempt from a requirement obliging any foreign buyer of a Norwegian business to notify the ministry when its holdings exceeded a third of the shares.

The ruling clears the way for Malaysia's Star Cruises to vote its 47% holding in NCL at a key shareholders' meeting Friday.


Kvaerner completes sale of Mandal Shipyard
Kvaerner Group has completed the sale of its Mandal Shipyard in Norway to Ulltveit Moe Gruppen AS.The transaction has produced an accounting loss for Kvaerner, but within the provision made by the company in the first quarter of 1999.


Inmarsat enters VSAT Market
The Boards of Inmarsat Holdings Ltd and EAE Group say that Inmarsat today has made a "knowledge acquisition" of part of the business of EAE Limited.

The Aberdeen based business will now trade as INVSAT Ltd, a subsidiary of Inmarsat Holdings Ltd.

The operation acquired by Inmarsat provides integrated telecommunications systems and services including satellite systems, radio systems
and very small aperture terminal satellite (VSAT) solutions to the oil and gas, maritime, government and emergency services markets. The business employs approximately 80 staff.

The acquisition is Inmarsat's first venture outside mobile satellite communications, its traditional area of operations, into the complementary world of VSAT technology.

Commenting on the purchase Michael Storey, Inmarsat's president and CEO said: "Without over playing it this deal is the first step in fulfilling our strategy
of delivering global, high bandwidth integrated multimedia mobile satellite communication services to the corporate market. The knowledge acquisition of
EAE provides us with a highly skilled team of people, experienced in delivering communications solutions direct to the end user.

"Importantly, with EAE, we are acquiring expertise in the area of VSAT technology which will add to the range of satellite communications solutions that we are able to offer our customers. VSAT is particularly effective for broadband applications which require rich-content material to be delivered live and on-line or downloaded for later use. This is a perfect extension to Inmarsat's current portfolio.''

Bob Buskie, EAE Limited Managing Director, will become Managing Director of Invsat Ltd and report to Robert Johnson, General Manager Maritime at
Inmarsat Ltd in London.

``Inmarsat will provide international sales and marketing drive to our business,'' said Invsat's Bob Buskie, ``which, when combined with our expertise and technology, will allow us to rapidly expand and exploit the potential in the total VSAT market.''

 

Marine Transport completes new financing
Marine Transport Corporation has completion of a financing of the previously announced charter extension of its vessel Marine Columbia in service to BP Oil Shipping Company (``BP''). The Marine Columbia was sold by MTC and chartered back in 1997 while on charter to BP though the year 2002. The recent extension of the charter to BP to November 2006 has allowed MTC to finance off-balance sheet
an incremental $25 million above previous amounts on the original BP charter.

The company currently has 6,205,000 common shares outstanding.

Mark Filanowski, MTC's CFO, said: "One of our financial goals was to leverage a substantial portion of the extended charter's cash flow and put this cash on the balance sheet now for use in strategic pursuits, rather than wait until charter payments accumulate. This financing is a key step toward implementing the next phase of our business plan.''

Richard du Moulin, MTC's Chairman, said several uses of the funds were being considered. "MTC has an excellent customer list and a committed cargo
portfolio in excess of our fleet's capacity. Because of this we are studying purchase of additional capacity from other owners, as well as capital projects to extend the trading lives of specific vessels in the MTC fleet. These funds give us seed capital for possible acquisitions in the highly fragmented Jones Act-trade.''

"Our strategic growth areas have excellent potential," continued Du Moulin. "MTC's chemical transportation business can grow substantially through joint projects with our Network Alliance partner Stolt-Nielsen. Indicative of this potential was the acquisition of two U.S.-flag chemical parcel tankers from Occidental Petroleum by Stolt Marine Tankers, our joint venture company with Stolt-Nielsen. This non-cash transaction, which involved the assumption of outstanding mortgage debt on
these two vessels, significantly expands our presence in these domestic and related international trades. A major new contract to transport Occidental cargo
was an added bonus. Other possible uses for the new funds include expansion into other bulk transportation projects which fit with our MTL Petrolink operation and further growth in our highly respected ship management business,'' Mr. du Moulin concluded.

Marine Transport Corporation is a U.S.-based supplier of marine transportation services, and owns and/or manages 35 ships, six work boats and five chartered-in vessels, making it one of the largest U.S. based fleets of ocean going vessels. MTC's core business is industrial shipping based on long-term alliances, some as long as 50 years, with leading chemical and energy customers. MTC's Houston-based operation, MTL Petrolink, provides crude oil lightering services in the Gulf of Mexico.


Commodore seeks Oslo listing
Commodore Holdings Limited intends to apply to list its common stock for trading on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Commodore has engaged Christiania Markets as its financial advisor to assist it in the listing process. Christiania Markets is the investment banking arm of Christiania Bank, which is the second largest bank in Norway.

"The Oslo Stock Exchange is one of the world's leading exchanges for shipping companies, including cruise lines," said Jeffrey I. Binder, Commodore's chairman. "We believe that the listng will assist the Company in its goal of enhancing shareholder value due to the knowledge of the shipping industry and appreciation of our business that the participants on the
Oslo Stock Exchange bring."

 

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