Hahn & Co, a Seoul-based private equity firm has acquired a 90% stake in SK Shipping, South Korea’s fourth-largest shipping company, for a reported US$1.35Bn.
The company SK shipping, a subsidiary of energy conglomerate SK Group has been involved in the bulk carrier, petroleum product tanker, crude oil tanker, and LNG carrier sectors. However, the company has been facing hard times and also struggled financially in recent years, due, not least, to the poor freight returns pertaining in the crude oil sector.
New addition to existing fleet strength
Hahn & Co owns H-Line Shipping, another South Korean owner involved in the dry bulk and liquefied gas sectors. H-Line was established in 2014 and its fleet includes four LNG carriers built between 1995 and 2000 and formerly owned by Hanjin Shipping.
Hahn & Co now controls a fleet of 16 LNG carriers, including the 12 gas ships owned by SK Shipping. The twelve ships in the 16-vessel fleet are serving on long-term charters to Korea Gas Corp (Kogas), carrying LNG imports to South Korea.
The gas fleet includes 10 operational ships and a pair of 180,000 m3 vessels under construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) for delivery in 2019. On completion, the duo will go on charter to SK E&S for lifting cargoes from the Freeport LNG terminal in Texas. The in-service SK fleet includes two notable pairs of recently completed LNG carriers. All four were built at Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and all are employed loading cargoes at the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana under long-term charters.
SK Audace and SK Resolute are 180,000 m3 ships built for an SK Shipping/Marubeni joint venture and charter to Total, while SK Serenity and SK Spica are 174,000 m3 ships on charter to Kogas.
The latter pair is the first LNG carriers to feature the KC-1 membrane cargo containment system. The technology was developed by Kogas in tandem with South Korea’s three leading LNG carrier builders – HHI, SHI, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.
SK Audace was the first LNG carrier powered by X-DF two-stroke, dual-fuel engines from Winterthur Gas & Diesel to enter service. Furthermore, SK Shipping also operates an LPG carrier fleet, ranging from six fully refrigerated very large gas carriers of 75,000-85,000 m3 down to a number of fully pressurized ships of 1,500-6,500 m3 engaged in southeast Asia trades.
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Source: LNG World Shipping