I knew I should have been a fireman!

Just came across some big news…

VShips, my current employer, is reportedly being bough by behemoth pension fund OMERS – Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Scheme. The fund with $53 billion under management, representing the pension of 400,000 Ontario employees is said to be spending $500 million to acquire VShips, one of the world’s largest ship managers and ship operations service provider.

OMERS is made up of the pension of 931 public employers in the Province of Ontario – such as transit workers, policemen, firemen, municipal workers, children aid workers, non teaching school workers, and hydro employees.

In Canada, based out of their Montreal Offices, Vships Canada manages the bulk of the Martin family CSL’s fleet, along with some vessels for Kirby Corp, Shell, and Intelecom, to name a few. The company, based in Glasgow, and / or Monaco, and / or Isle of Man, has numerous brands such as VManpower, VShips Leisure, Seatec, etc. VShips is the founding brand, with their website listing VGroup as the overarching brand. I am not sure if the Groups is spinning off just the ship management side of things; but based on my observations, I assume it will be the whole group.

According to the VShips website…

“Formed in 1984, V.Ships is the leading supplier of independent ship management and related marine services to the global shipping industry. Currently, it supplies services to a fleet of over 1000 vessels and manages a crew roster of 24,000 staff.”

The company has many facets, in numerous offices all over the world, but has a primary UK flavour to its operations. You can find out more about VShips here, VGroup here, OMERS here. Below is the news article from Reuters with (unconfirmed) details of the deal, and transaction.

Ontario pension plans are no stranger to the maritime business. For instance, the Ontario Teacher Pension Plan, managing a massive $107 billion portfolio, has a wholly owned subsidiary called Global Container Terminal – which is the biggest operator in the Port of Vancouver (TSI in Vancouver and Delta) moving 70% of the containers traffic. They also control container port operations in Bayonnes, New Jersey, and Staten Island, along with airports and a $140 stake in Carnival Corporation.

Canadian pension fund OMERS to buy V. Ships
Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:36pm IST, By Claire Ruckin

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) – Canadian pension fund Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Scheme (OMERS) is set to buy V. Ships, one of the world’s biggest ship managers, for about $500 million, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Private equity firm Exponent agreed the sale to OMERS, which could be completed by the end of next week, after talks with Charterhouse Capital Partners broke down, the person said.

OMERS was not immediately available for comment.

The Canadian pension fund was in the original auction for V.ships along with Cinven, Permira and Charterhouse.

Charterhouse and Exponent failed to agree the sale after Charterhouse revised its offer and linked part of the payment to the future performance of V.Ships by adding an ‘earn out’ clause. Exponent preferred an all-cash offer, the person said.

OMERS’ purchase of V.Ships is expected to be financed with leveraged loans. Royal Bank of Canada is close to the deal, banking sources said. Lazard is advising Exponent.

HSBC and Citigroup were leading the financing backing Charterhouse’s bid, several sources said.

Exponent bought V.Ships with management in 2007 backed by $267 million of debt according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.

This included a $180 million, eight-year term loan B; a $60 million, seven-year acquisition facility; and a $27 million, seven-year revolving credit facility.

Under Exponent’s ownership, V.Ships has completed three acquisitions including Norway-based engineering consultancy business RC Consulting in 2007, Dubai-based International Tanker Management in 2009 and Singapore-based underwater engineering company Maritime Underwater Maintenance and Services in 2010.

Formed in 1984, V.Ships is a leading supplier of independent management and related marine services to the global shipping industry.

The Glasgow-headquartered company supplies services to a fleet of over 1000 vessels and manages a crew roster of 24,000 staff. (Reporting by Claire Ruckin, edited by Tessa Walsh and Erica Billingham)

OMERS Board of director (my new bosses) pictured…

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