Zeaborn continues aggressive expansion acquiring ER Schiffahrt

Erck Rickmers

German shipowning and management group Zeaborn is continuing its aggressive expansion acquiring Erck Rickmers ship management company ER Schiffahrt.

Zeaborn said on Monday that the contracts to buy ER Schiffahrt and all its subsidiaries were signed on 1 February and including ship broker Harper Peterson & Co. The acquisition is subject to anti-trust clearance and no financial numbers were disclosed.

With its latest acquisition five-year old Zeaborn is rapidly growing into a major global force in shipping and will have a fleet of 165 vessels under commercial and technical management, with 360 onshore staff and 5,000 seafarers, with offices spanning Asia, Europe and the US.

Current Er Schiffahrt ceo Nils Aden will be responsible for all ship management activities at Zeaborn.

“ER Schiffahrt and Harper Petersen are well managed and profitable businesses. The combined entity will have a critical size to operate successfully in the competitive global market place,” commented Erck Rickmers. “Consolidation among German ship management companies has long been overdue, but is needed in light of future market requirements. Zeaborn is pursuing a dynamic growth strategy that offers its customers and employees promising prospects.”

Meanwhile Zeaborn continues to look for growth opportunities as it achieved what it described as another important milestone.

“Our approach remains the same: we are an integrated shipping company that is open for partnerships and acquisitions. Going forward, we will continue to drive further growth thanks to our clear organisational structure, for example through the rapid integration of additional tonnage and businesses”, explained Ove Meyer and Jan-Hendrik Többe, the Zeaborn Group’s managing partners.

It is the latest move Zeaborn has made on companies own by the Rickmers family in Germany. Last year in a consortium along with Bertram Rickmers, Zeaborn rescued Rickmers Shipmamagement from the insolvent Rickmers Group. Earlier in the year it acquired heavy lift vessel owner and operator Rickmers-Linie from Bertram Rickmers.

With the acquisition of ER Schiffahrt Zeaborn would appear to have pulled of a merger of the two Rickmers brother’s ship management companies, which was attempted, but failed in 2016.

The Erck Rickmers Group (ER Group) will remain in shipping with 34 vessels either fully-owned or jointly financed with investors.

Posted 5 February 2018

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Marcus Hand

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Editor, Seatrade Maritime News Marcus Hand is the editor of Seatrade Maritime News and a dedicated maritime journalist with nearly two decades of experience covering the shipping industry in Asia. In addition to running Seatrade's maritime and offshore news website based from Singapore he is the Asia Editor of Seatrade Maritime Review. Marcus is also an experienced industry commentator and has chaired many conferences and round tables. Prior to joining Seatrade at the beginning of 2010 Marcus worked for shipping industry journal Lloyd's List for a decade and previous to that the Singapore Business Times covering shipping and aviation.

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