UAE Investor Buys Danish Ship Finance in Bid to Build Portfolio

United Arab Emirates investor Magellan Group agreed to pay more than €700 million for lender Danish Ship Finance as the Middle East firm makes its first major investment in an effort to build a diverse portfolio.

Magellan, with roots in the marine services industry, wants to expand its acquisition into the advisory and services businesses, Chief Investment Officer Ahmed Omar said in an interview.Danish Ship Finance, now in its seventh decade, started as a state-run financier.

“What we want to do is see how we can help grow the business,” Omar said, “whether it’s adding advisory, adding syndications, helping build up on the client roster.” Magellan could “potentially help advise other banks on structuring similar deals” in maritime finance, he said.

Magellan is buying the majority of Danish Ship Finance from Nordic private equity firm Axcel and two Danish pension funds, which together bought the company for about $613 million in 2016.

Once the deal closes, Magellan will own 90% of the company’s shares, and the Danish Maritime Fund will maintain its 10% holding.

The Middle Eastern firm wants to build its portfolio using proceeds from its owner’s sale of another business to an arm of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., the UAE’s largest producer.

Magellan, which operates out of offices in London, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, was started by Hassan El Ali, who founded Zakher Marine International before selling it to Adnoc Logistics & Services two years ago.

That sale gave Magellan about $1.1 billion to invest, Omar said. Magellan Capital, the group’s London-based branch, will buy and own Danish Ship Finance. El Ali also owns an Abu Dhabi-based company that provides services for the offshore energy industry.

Magellan sees three more deals potentially closing this year with a total value in the range of about $200 million, Omar said. The companies being targeted are in the real estate, luxury and health-care industries, he said.

Source: Bloomberg

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