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MOL to take over Gearbulk from Kristian Jebsen

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Over 30 years since taking its first stake in Gearbulk, MOL announced it will take a majority stake in the Swiss-registered company early next year.

Norway’s open-hatch bulker specialist, Gearbulk Holding, owned by Norway’s Jebsen family, is to be taken over by Japan’s second largest shipping company, MOL, in a deal that will raise the Japanese firm’s stake from 49% to 72% by early next year.

No price has yet been revealed but MOL’s latest move will see the Japanese company finally taking control of 60-ship Swiss-registered Gearbulk. Set up by the Jebsen family in 1968, MOL took its first stake in the bulk carrier specialist in 1991.

It subsequently bought into more of the open-hatch bulker specialist, raising its holding to 49% in 2009. Now, MOL is buying a further slice of the Jebsen family’s holding, taking its stake to 72% early in 2025.

Details of the transaction are not yet clear but MOL has stated that Gearbulk’s business will strengthen its worldwide network and the resulting synergies are likely to create new business opportunities. The result, MOL said, will be to differentiate the company from its competitors and strengthen its cost competitiveness and customer network.

In addition to its 60-ship fleet, Gearbulk currently has two, option two, 82,300dwt open-hatch bulkers on order at CSSC Huangpu Wenchong Longxue shipyard in China. The vessels are to be built ‘ready’ for ammonia or methanol fuel, with the first two ships due for delivery in the first half of 2027.