The proposed $1.3bn National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) takeover of Saudi Aramco shipping arm Vela has been approved by the Supreme Council for Petroleum and Mineral Affairs (SCPMA). Aramco said when the merger was announced that the two firms intended to complete the transaction during 2013 (MEES, 2 July 2012), but Bahri says SCPMA clearance is one of a number of regulatory approvals required for completion.

The takeover will transform Bahri from the world’s sixth largest VLCC owner to fourth largest, with 32 in all. Vela’s fleet comprises 14 double hull VLCCs plus one single hull VLCC that is used for floating storage, as well as five product tankers. Bahri owns 17 VLCCs, 24 chemical carriers, five roll-on roll-off ships and five dry-bulk vessels and will take delivery of another ship this year. Under the agreement, the enlarged Bahri will become Aramco’s exclusive VLCC provider. (CONTINUED - 272 WORDS)