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Maritime heavy transportation companies Dockwise and Sealift announce merger

Dutch maritime companies Dockwise and Sealift, both active in the heavy transportation market, announce that they are to merge.

By combining their fleets of vessels, the companies will be able to provide an enhanced service to customers. Following the merger, the Sealift vessels will be integrated into the existing Dockwise fleet and the company will trade under the Dockwise name.

3i, the largest shareholder in Dockwise, and Norwegian Frontline, the largest shareholder in Sealift, have both approved the merger.

Sealift, which is listed on the Oslo OTC market, was founded by Frontline to manage and operate six large Suez Max tankers, which are due to be converted into semi-submersible heavy transportation vessels. The first of these six vessels will be operational in May, following the completion of its conversion in China. Delivery of the bulk of the remaining vessels will follow later in 2007, with the final vessel to be delivered mid 2008.  

Following the merger, the new entity will be listed on the Oslo OTC market. Both 3i and Frontline will continue as shareholders of the new company, with 3i retaining the largest shareholding in Dockwise. As a result of the merger, the complementary expertise of Sealift will be integrated into the Dockwise organisation.

André Goedee, CEO of Dockwise commented: “The six Sealift vessels will reinforce our core business and allow us to accelerate our focus on new markets, such as the installation of oil platforms and the management of large and complex logistic projects.”

Bert Bekker, CEO of Sealift, said: “The introduction of the six new vessels into the market will be facilitated by the strong Dockwise brand which gives our customers a guarantee of quality.” 

In December 2006, 3i, Europe’s largest private equity company, and funds managed by 3i, agreed the buyout of Dockwise to realise the company’s strong growth strategy. It is due to 3i’s international network, its sector knowledge and its experience in financially complex transactions, that Dockwise has been able to realise this merger.

Notes to editors

About 3i Buyouts
The 3i European Buyout Business is a leader in the European mid-market.  We lead mid-market buyouts up to €1bn using insight from our local knowledge, international connections, and our sector teams.  Managing over €3.5bn invested in over 100 companies across Europe, the business invests in all sectors, with a particular focus on media, healthcare and business support services. 3i recently raised a £5bn fund, the largest fund dedicated to mid-market buyouts. ‘Eurofund V’ will be invested in buyout transactions over the next four years, primarily in Europe.  In the Benelux, 3i Buyouts is currently invested in ABX, Aviapartner, Daalderop, Hyva, and Van Wijnen  and was invested in (inter alia) De Telefoongids, Refresco, and Malmberg.

About 3i Oil, Gas & Power
3i’s Oil, Gas & Power team manages an investment portfolio with a value of $1bn across the UK, Norway, USA and Singapore.  The current portfolio includes EDP, an oilfield development project manager and Noreco, a Norwegian independent exploration and production company.  Successful realisations include Petrofac, the international oil and gas facilities service provider, which floated in October 2005; Revus Energy, the independent Norwegian upstream company, which floated in June 2005; and CH4 Energy, a leading exploration and production company, which was acquired by Venture Production plc in August 2006.  Other previous portfolio companies include Wood Group and Venture Production.

About Dockwise
Dockwise is headquartered in Breda, the Netherlands, and operates a fleet of 16 semi-submersible heavy transport vessels at the top end of the market. Dockwise employs about 800 people worldwide. With a global network of offices in Breda (the Netherlands, headquarters), Houston (Texas, U.S.A.), Shanghai (China), Busan (South Korea), Perth (Australia), Lagos and Fort Lauderdale/Golfe Juan (Dockwise Yacht Transport), as well as 8 representing agents, Dockwise provides an extensive service network to its clients.

As a transport management and installation contractor, Dockwise is able to offer a total transport solution for complex door-to-door logistic requirements of extremely heavy or voluminous cargo. In other words : “Exceptional transport management”.

About Sealift
Sealift is an international heavy transportation company providing marine services to the Oil and Gas market. The company will be operating 6 heavy transport vessels by July 2008. The first vessel will enter service in May 2007.

For further information please contact:

Kathryn van der Kroft
tel.  +44 207 975 3021

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