International legal practice Norton Rose LLP has advised Sungas Holdings, the chemical tanker group, on the creation of a joint venture gas carrier business between Sungas Holdings and the Oslo listed transportation and storage solutions group, Stolt Nielsen.
The deal is the latest major sign of an increase in joint ventures in the shipping market. The annual Norton Rose Group Way Ahead for Transport survey revealed in November that 60 per cent of organisations in the shipping sector are looking at joint ventures in the next twelve months - a rise from just 25 per cent in 2009.*
Jill Gauntlett, partner at Norton Rose (Asia) LLP in Singapore, comments:
“Our ability to provide a wide range of expertise from our London and Singapore offices to advise on the deal was an important feature of the transaction and the detailed know-how of different teams in different jurisdictions was needed to ensure this deal was a success.”
Simon Hartley, partner at Norton Rose LLP, also comments:
“This is an interesting move by Sungas Holdings and Stolt Nielsen, and demonstrates a more positive mood for the gas carrier market. Joint ventures are becoming an increasingly popular structure amongst ship owners and allow the parties to share risk whilst seeking to enhance their position in the relevant market. It will be interesting to see if other similar deals emerge both in the gas carrier sector but also other sectors of the shipping market.
The Norton Rose LLP team was led, on the corporate finance aspects of the deal, by a team based in Singapore led by Jill Gauntlett (partner) and Stephen Woods (associate) and also involving Kate Sherrard (senior associate) and Sam Dipper (trainee) and, on the shipping aspect of the deal by London based partner and global co-head of the shipping group, Simon Hartley with support from Natalie Phanekham (associate) and Jaye Bhogal (legal assistant).
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* The figures quoted are from the Norton Rose Group Way Ahead Transport Survey 2010. It is the second annual transport report released by Norton Rose Group. It details the views of 679 international respondents from a range of companies involved in transport, including financiers, operators, manufacturers, governments and professional services firms. The respondents come from the aviation, rail and shipping sectors. There are 177 respondents from the shipping industry in total.
Copies of the Norton Rose Group Way Ahead Transport Survey 2010 report can be downloaded from www.nortonrose.com.