Wilhelmsen Returns to Tankers With Purchase of Ahrenkiel

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Atlantica Bridge, one of five vessels managed by Ahrenkiel Tankers (File image courtesy Atlantica Shipping)

Published Jan 12, 2022 2:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

After a decade-long absence from the tanker segment, Wilhelmsen Ship Management has purchased a controlling stake in Ahrenkiel Tankers and rebranded it with Wilhelmsen's own original name, Barber Ship Management. 

Wilhelmsen Ship Management exited the tanker market in 2009, citing concerns about safety and regulatory standards in the sector. But much has changed over the decade since, and two years ago the company began to make plans to return to managing tankers.

"The tanker market is a very different sector today from what it was more than a decade ago in terms of quality and safety, with much better regulation on the competence side, and this has given us the confidence to mark our re-entry into the business with this key acquisition," said Carl Schou, Chief Executive Officer and President of Wilhelmsen Ship Management. "Ahrenkiel Tankers has developed a strong reputation for reliable tanker management and represents an ideal fit with Wilhelmsen Ship Management given our common values of environmental responsibility and safety, aligned with a high level of competence."

Ahrenkiel Tankers will be renamed Barber Ship Management - Wilhelmsen Ship Management's original name at the time of its founding - and will serve as its specialized tanker management arm, effective January 1. The deal gives Wilhelmsen a starting portfolio of five tankers and an 80 percent stake in the group. MPC Capital, the previous owner, will retain 20 percent. 

It is not Wilhelmsen Ship Management's first business deal with MPC Capital. Wilhelmsen bought a 50 percent stake in container ship manager Ahrenkiel Steamship from MPC in 2020, renaming it Wilhelmsen Ahrenkiel Steamship. At the time of signing, the agreement gave the firm a 72-vessel boxship portfolio. 

“We are very pleased to have Wilhelmsen at our side as a strong partner with whom we can consistently expand our shipping activities," said MPC Capital Managing Director Christian Rychly at the time. “We want to offer the best services to our clients and Wilhelmsen’s network and expertise in other shipping segments will improve our position in the container segment.”