Hamburg entrepreneur Erck Rickmers has sold his ship management and ship brokerage activities. Effective January 1, 2018, Bremen-based Zeaborn Group acquired all shares in E.R. Schiffahrt GmbH & Cie. KG and shipbroker Harper Petersen & Co.
With the takeover, Zeaborn’s shipping fleet under commercial and technical management has been expanded by 61 container vessels and 20 bulk carriers to more than 165 vessels.
All staff, approximately 200 employees ashore and 2,800 at sea, will transfer to the Zeaborn Group. Nils Aden, currently chief executive officer of E.R. Schiffahrt, will be responsible for the enlarged ship management activities, while Simon Aust will continue as chief executive officer of Harper Petersen.
Once E.R. Schiffahrt with all its subsidiaries and the shipbroker Harper Petersen have been integrated, the Zeaborn Group's employee numbers will be approximately 360 staff on shore and more than 5,000 staff at sea.
The combined companies will remain headquartered in Hamburg.
“E.R. 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,” Rickmers said. “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.”
“In E.R. Schiffahrt we were able to add a well-known shipping manager to our group of companies, which is a great fit for our portfolio and with whom we can further optimize our services for our customers,” said Ove Meyer and Jan-Hendrik Többe, the Zeaborn Group’s managing partners. “With this fleet expansion, we can further improve both quality and quantity of our products and services to the benefit of our customers.”
“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 organizational structure, for example through the rapid integration of additional tonnage and businesses,” the partners added.
The sale of the Erck Rickmers Group’s ship management and brokerage units does not signal the group’s farewell to shipping. The group will retain involvement in the maritime industry with a total of 34 vessels fully owned or jointly financed with investors under the E.R.-flag.
The Erck Rickmers Group recently established the Blue Star Group, a new company developing shipping investments for institutional investors.
“The consolidation in the German ship management sector has long been overdue and Zeaborn is pursuing a dynamic growth strategy. E.R. Schiffahrt is a profitable company that is extremely well managed. Combined with Zeaborn’s existing activities, the company will now reach the critical size that is necessary to successfully compete on a global scale,” said Jochen Klösges, CEO of E.R. Capital Holding, in reference to the transaction, manager of Erck Rickmers’ business interests.