Maritime Deal

Nov 03, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Hemas group has bought a stake in ship owner and operator Mercantile Shipping Company as part of a strategic thrust into the shipping business. Hemas Holdings said in a stock exchange filing that it invested in a 17 percent stake in Mercantile Shipping Co., which represents 426,223 ordinary shares on offer by the liquidators of Mercantile Credit Ltd., which owned the shares.

The cost of the acquisition was not revealed.

“Mercantile Shipping has become a strategic partner of ours in our aim of developing our shipping business,” said Irshad Mushin, director – maritime transportation of Hemas group.

“This is an important move for us and will further enhance our asset owning capabilities.”

Mercantile Shipping Company is a German-Sri Lankan joint venture in which Reederi Eugen Friedrich of Bremen and D.E.G. of Koln have stakes.

The company is the largest ship owner and operator in Sri Lanka with a fleet now made up of six vessels ranging in size between 3,000 and 17, 400 tonnes deadweight which are operated throughout the Indian Ocean.

Mercantile Shipping managing director Thomas Kriwat said the two companies had held t