Dutch maritime groups plan merger

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Dutch port maintenance and construction group Boskalis Westminister and the maritime hauler Smit, also of the Netherlands said Monday they had agreed to merge.

The Hague--The deal would create a company with a combined annual turnover of EUR EUR 2.7 billion (USD 3.8 billion) and 13,500 employees.

The groups said in a statement they had signed "a merger protocol for a full merger of the two companies."

"The business combiniation will create a world class maritime service provider offering a strong platform for further growth," the statement said.

Under terms of the protocol, Boskalis would offer 60 euros per Smit share, along with a 2009 dividend payment to Smit shareholders of EUR 2.75 per share.

Smit's management board and a majority of its supervisory board have decided to recommend the transaction to shareholders, the statement said.

Boskalis, which employs 10,000 people in 50 countries, operates a fleet of 300 vessels and specialises in dredging, port development and land reclamation.

Smit, which has its origins in a hauling and towing business established in 1842, raised the Russian submarine Kursk, which sank in the Barents Sea in 2000 with the loss of 118 lives.

Boskalis said it would submit the merger proposal to the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets by 4 February and expected to launch the offer in the second half of that month.


AFP / Expatica

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