In mid-December 2014 Boskalis signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kotug International B.V. (KOTUG) to merge their European harbour towage operations by establishing a 50/50 joint venture. On 23 December 2015 the parties formalized this intention in a definite agreement. The definitive establishment of the joint venture and the financial close are expected to take place during the first half of 2016.
At the end of 2015 Boskalis reached a heads of agreement with STRABAG SE for the acquisition of the dredging activities and assets of STRABAG Wasserbau GmbH, formerly known as Möbius Wasserbau. The agreed transaction price is EUR 70 million. The acquisition will strengthen Boskalis’ position in the German home market. Furthermore, by acquiring two 7,350 m³ trailing suction hopper dredgers from STRABAG the requirement to renew part of the Boskalis dredging fleet in the 6,000 m³ to 9,000 m³ space will be fulfilled. This transaction is expected to be closed in the first quarter 2016 subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions.
Volkerwessels offshore activities
Early March 2016 Boskalis signed a Letter of Intent with Koninklijke Volker Wessels Stevin N.V. (VolkerWessels) to acquire offshore activities of VolkerWessels. Under the intended transaction, Boskalis will acquire maritime and offshore wind energy related activities of VolkerWessels, specifically VBMS, Stemat and VSI (Volker Stevin International). Boskalis and VolkerWessels have been working together successfully for years in the offshore wind energy market. VBMS, a 50/50 Boskalis - VolkerWessels joint venture, is the European market leader in the field of offshore cable installation with a strong market position and well-filled order book. As a consequence of this transaction, Boskalis will acquire the remaining 50% share in VBMS. Late 2014 and mid-2015, Boskalis and VSI in joint venture acquired two large offshore wind park projects, Wikinger and Veja Mate respectively. As a consequence of this transaction, Boskalis will execute these two projects on a 100% basis. It is the intention to close this transaction in the second quarter 2016 subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions.
SMIT Amandla Marine
Boskalis has signed an agreement for the sale of its 70% stake in SMIT Amandla Marine. SMIT Amandla Marine offers a variety of maritime services in Southern Africa and is currently part of the Offshore Energy division. The sale is subject to the customary conditions and more details will be provided following the definitive transaction.
Cost reduction and fleet rationalization study
In light of the market developments and in anticipation of a lower volume of work, a study has been launched which will take a critical look at the composition of the fleet across the entire group. It is expected that equipment will be taken out of service at both Dredging and Offshore Energy with the associated implications for staffing levels. In addition, we will take a critical look at reducing the cost of the global office network. Our objective is to stay a step ahead of market developments and ensure that Boskalis remains in good shape for the future.
Share buy-back program
Boskalis launched a share buy-back program on 14 August 2014. In light of the uncertain market conditions and the interest acquired in Fugro the program was temporarily suspended last year. Boskalis has no plans to resume the program in the foreseeable future.