Aker, Ezra form SURF partnership

Aker Solutions has agreed to transfer ownership in its subsidiary Aker Marine Contractors (AMC) to Ezra Holdings, in exchange for taking equity in Ezra.

Offshore staff

SINGAPORE -- Aker Solutions has agreed to transfer ownership in its subsidiary Aker Marine Contractors (AMC) to Ezra Holdings, in exchange for taking equity in Ezra.

Under the arrangement, Ezra will also gain 50% of Aker Solutions’ ownership in the newbuild installation vessel Aker Connector, to be renamed AMC Connector.

The aim of this transaction is to develop a major new subsea umbilicals risers and flowlines (SURF) and floater installation company, with wide-ranging assets covering all water depths and regions of the world.

Ezra will also gain access to Aker Solutions subsea and other products to create a strong engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPCI) capability.

The transaction values AMC at $250 million. Ezra will pay Aker Solutions $50 million in cash, $100 million in shares in Ezra Holdings, and $50 million in the form of a convertible bond, due to mature after 36 months.

The final $50 million-plus interest will be settled in cash on delivery of the AMC Connector. Ezra will also assume 50% of the vessel’s capital expenditure commitments.

"By becoming part of Ezra, AMC will have access to a larger and rapidly growing fleet of installation vessels covering all IMR and SURF installation segments - including flexible and rigid pipelay with capacity up to 3,500 m (11,483 ft) water depth,” said Øyvind Eriksen, Executive Chairman, Aker Solutions.

Currently AMC operates two vessels, the Boa Deep C and Boa Sub C.

Ezra operates offshore under EMAS, an integrated offshore support solutions provider founded in 1992 and based in Singapore.

"This will be a transformational move that will propel Ezra and AMC to jointly become one of the world's top-five SURF contractors," Eriksen claimed.

AMC is strongest in the Gulf of Mexico and Europe, while Ezra’s strongholds are the Asia-Pacific region, Australia, and West Africa. For product deliveries combined with installation and subsea construction services, the partnership should also benefit from Aker Solutions' strong positions in Brazil and Arctic regions.

Ezra/AMC will initially operate a fleet of five construction and SURF installation vessels, expanding to 10 from 2013 onwards. Ezra also operates around 30 anchor handling tugs, anchor handling tug supply and diving support vessels, and two accommodation barges through its offshore support division.

The transaction should be completed during 1Q 2011.

10/22/2010

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