Ugland reverses into marine group

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The Independent Online
ANDREAS UGLAND, the Norwegian shipping tycoon, underpinned his victory in the tussle for Bristol Channel Ship Repairers yesterday by reversing his interests into the marine and engineering group.

The deal is to be accompanied by an pounds 18.8m rights issue to finance the acquisition of the Ugland assets and provide more working capital.

The company said the move would make BCSR a soundly financed international shipping group.

Mr Ugland became chairman of BCSR last month after a struggle with the former chairman, Christopher Bailey. Mr Bailey's company, CH Bailey, used to run BCSR and held almost 30 per cent of the shares when it sold a 24 per cent stake to Mr Ugland last year.

But the two parties fell out, with each accusing the other of trying to control the company without making a bid.

Mr Ugland called an extraordinary meeting to remove some directors and won the vote. But the board had met the previous day and appointed a number of other directors seen as opposed to Mr Ugland.

Following threats of legal action and speculation that Mr Ugland would mount a full-scale takeover bid, the row was resolved in May, with an agreement that Mr Ugland would become chairman.

Mr Ugland now owns 29.7 per cent while CH Bailey's stake has been reduced to 2.7 per cent.

The one-for-four rights issue, priced at 100p, is sponsored by Nomura - the first UK rights to be backed by the Japanese firm.

The new company will own nine general cargo vessels and one deep- sea carrier, and 16 ships under management for third parties.

The shares were suspended at 8p in August when the deal was mooted, but they have been translated into larger units to avoid the rights involving millions of new shares.