Navigator Holdings Ltd. (“Navigator”) (NYSE: NVGS), the owner and operator of the world’s largest fleet of handysize liquefied gas carriers, is pleased to announce that, with effect from September 30, 2022, it has entered into a joint venture agreement with Greater Bay Gas Co. Ltd. (Liberia) (“Greater Bay Gas”).
The joint venture (the “Joint Venture”), owned 60% by Navigator and 40% by Greater Bay Gas, intends to acquire, over the next fifteen months, a total of five ethylene vessels, made up of two 17,000 cbm, 2018-built and three 22,000 cbm, 2019-built ethylene vessels (the “Vessels”). The Vessels are currently commercially managed by the Luna Pool collaborative arrangement (the “Luna Pool”), which was formed in March 2020 by Navigator, Greater Bay Gas Co. Ltd. (HK) and Pacific Gas Pte. Ltd. (Singapore).
Subject to customary conditions, the Joint Venture intends to acquire each of the Vessels following the exercise of the respective purchase options from their existing owner by Equator Fund Limited, the parent company of Greater Bay Gas, as each of such options becomes exercisable. The aggregate purchase price the Joint Venture expects to pay to acquire the Vessels is approximately $233 million. The Joint Venture intends to finance the majority of the purchase price through commercial bank finance, with the remainder sourced from capital contributions from Navigator and Greater Bay Gas. Navigator expects to finance its share of the capital contributions from available cash resources.
Once acquired by the Joint Venture, each of the Vessels will continue to be commercially managed by the Luna Pool, benefiting from the experienced team formed in 2020. The technical manager of the Vessels will remain Pacific Gas Pte. Ltd. (Singapore).
Mads Peter Zacho, Chief Executive Officer of Navigator, said:
“Following the success of our Luna Pool collaboration with Greater Bay Gas Co. Ltd. (HK), the formation of this 60/40 Joint Venture is the natural next step in our strategic alliance, enabling us to benefit further from our combined strengths. The Joint Venture with Greater Bay Gas will result in a reduction in the average age of Navigator’s fleet and will allow us to take advantage of more efficient vessels, lowering emissions and offering improved economics to our customers. The Joint Venture is accretive as it further consolidates the handysize segment and puts us in a strong position for further growth and development in an evolving marketplace.”
Mr. Steven Xiao, Director of Greater Bay Gas, commented:
“The Luna Pool collaboration has proven a great success and has paved the way to today’s Joint Venture. If the Luna Pool experience symbolized falling in love a few years ago, then we witness a happy marriage today. Naturally, following the Joint Venture we anticipate a successful journey together and with such holistic synergy, the Luna Pool is expected to be more productive to contribute to the global gaseous business community.”