New investor to help drive Aspo’s ESL Shipping green transition

Finnish conglomerate Aspo has attracted a new investor for its subsidiary ESL Shipping to support its ambition for green transition.

ESL Shipping’s parent company Aspo Plc announced earlier this year that it has initiated a program to accelerate ESL Shipping’s green transition through a program assessing three alternative measures, including a launch of a new investment pool of fossil-free vessels, a possible equity injection in ESL Shipping by a minority shareholder, and the sales of the shipping company’s two Supramax vessels.

As the first result of this assessment, Aspo has signed an agreement with OP Finland Infrastructure LP, a fund investing in Finnish infrastructure, regarding an investment of €30 million into Aspo’s subsidiary ESL Shipping.

The investment will be made against issuance of new shares in ESL Shipping with an agreed pre-money equity valuation of €165 million, corresponding to a 15.38% ownership stake in ESL Shipping. This implies an enterprise value of about €300 million for ESL Shipping.

The transaction is subject to competition authority filings and change of control approvals from financial institutions. The closing of the transaction is expected to take place during the first quarter of 2024.

Rolf Jansson, chief executive of Aspo Group, said: “We are delighted to have found a partner in OP Finland Infrastructure LP to support Aspo and ESL Shipping in accelerating the company’s low-carbon growth strategy. We see immense infra-like growth opportunities in ESL Shipping’s market and want the company to play an active part in the ongoing sustainability transformation.”

Ossi Vasala of OP Finland Infrastructure LP, also commented: “For us this is a great investment opportunity to accelerate the green transition of ESL Shipping and its customers in Finland and around the Baltic Sea.”

ESL Shipping’s ongoing investment in twelve green coasters is progressing as planned. A total of seven vessels are already under construction and the first vessel in the series, Electramar, was successfully launched in June and is expected to be delivered during the fourth quarter of 2023. The second vessel, Stellamar, was launched in October.