Italy's Fincantieri offers to buy rest of Vard at 24 cents per share to take it private

Vard Holdings shipbuilding facilities around the world include the Brattvaag yard in Norway. Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri SpA has offered to buy the rest of Singapore-listed shipbuilder.
Vard Holdings shipbuilding facilities around the world include the Brattvaag yard in Norway. Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri SpA has offered to buy the rest of Singapore-listed shipbuilder. PHOTO: VARD HOLDINGS

SINGAPORE - Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has offered to buy the rest of Singapore-listed Vard Holdings that it does not already own for up to S$125.6 million.

It is offering 24 Singapore cents per Vard share, a premium of about 4 per cent to the stock's closing price on Friday. This works out to S$125.6 million in the event of full acceptance.

Fincantieri Oil & Gas, which is making the offer, already controls 55.6 per cent of the outstanding shares in Vard.

Vard on Monday requested a trading halt before markets opened. It announced the offer late on Sunday via a filing with the Singapore Exchange.

The Italian company said it will delist the struggling offshore vessel builder if its offer succeeds. The offer is conditional upon acquiring more than 90 per cent of total Vard shares.

The proposed delisting of Vard, which has a market capitalisation of about S$192 million, adds to a growing list of companies taken off or proposing to delist from the Singapore bourse, including ARA Asset Management Ltd, instant coffee maker Super Group, massage chair maker Osim International, Tiger Airways, SMRT Corp, traditional Chinese medicine retailer Eu Yan Sang and Neptune Orient Lines.

Norwary-headquartered Vard is one of the largest global shipbuilders of offshore and specialised vessels, with about 9,000 employees and nine shipyards in Norway, Romania, Brazil and Vietnam.

Last week, Vard posted a net loss of 80 million Norwegian kroner (S$13.5 million) for the third quarter, smaller than the loss of 486 million kroner seen for the same period last year amid restructuring efforts and rising orders.

Revenue for the three months to Sept 30 fell 34 per cent to 1.5 billion kroner, largely because of reduced activity at the European yards and the closure of the Niteroi yard in Brazil in the third quarter.

Its new order intakes for the quarter came to 3.3 billion kroner, taking the figure for the first nine months of the year to 10.2 billion kroner. That exceeds total new order intakes for each of the two previous financial years.