Finnish conglomerate Aspo has attracted a new investor for ESL Shipping to accelerate the green transition of its shipping subsidiary.
On November 8, Aspo signed an agreement with OP Finland Infrastructure, a fund investing in Finnish infrastructure, regarding an investment of €30 million into ESL Shipping.
In April this year, Aspo announced that it had initiated a program to accelerate ESL Shipping’s green transition through a program assessing three alternative measures, including a launch of a new investment pool of fossil-free vessels, a possible equity injection in ESL Shipping by a minority shareholder, and the sales of the shipping company’s two Supramax vessels.
As the first result of this assessment, the agreeement with OP Finland Infrastructure LP has been signed. The investment will be made against the issuance of new shares in ESL Shipping with an agreed pre-money equity valuation of €165 million, corresponding to a 15.38% ownership stake in ESL Shipping. This implies an enterprise value of approx. €300 million for ESL Shipping.
“We are delighted to have found a partner in OP Finland Infrastructure LP to support Aspo and ESL Shipping in accelerating the company’s low-carbon growth strategy. We see immense infra-like growth opportunities in ESL Shipping’s market and want the company to play an active part in the ongoing sustainability transformation,” Rolf Jansson, CEO of Aspo Group, commented.
“For us this is a great investment opportunity to accelerate the green transition of ESL Shipping and its customers in Finland and around the Baltic Sea,” Ossi Vasala, Head of Direct Infra and Private Debt Investments, OP Finland Infrastructure LP, said.
The transaction is subject to competition authority filings and change of control approvals from financial institutions. The closing of the transaction is expected to take place during Q1/2024.
ESL Shipping’s strategy
ESL Shipping’s ambition is to instrumentally support the sustainability-driven transformation of its industrial customers by taking further steps in offering them completely fossil-free sea transportation.
The strategy is focused on long-term industrial partnerships and on being a forerunner in sustainability. The ongoing green transition will substantially enlarge the company’s market and offer significant growth opportunities, according to Aspo.
The already ongoing investment in twelve green coasters is progressing as planned. A total of seven vessels are already under construction and the first vessel in the series, Electramar, was successfully launched in June and is expected to be delivered during Q4/2023.
The second vessel, Stellamar, was launched in October.
“The program to accelerate ESL Shipping’s green transformation will continue through further investments in fleet and technologies enabling fossil-free shipments for the company’s customer base,” Aspo said.
Source: World Maritime News