YILDIRIM GROUP entered the SEALEASE capital

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

On April 19th 2011, the Turkish holding YILDIRIM GROUP entered the SEALEASE capital, providing financial strength and management expertise.

YILDIRIM Group, a Turkish-based family owned conglomerate, announced the acquisition of 75,11% of the Belgian Company SEALEASE S.A., a leasing company providing unique financial solutions dedicated to the professionals of the marine industry. The other 24,89% stake remains in the hands of the management of the Company E-SEA SA. For YILDIRIM, this acquisition is the second investment in the shipping and vessels operation business in Europe since November 2010, after the injection of US$ 500 million into the French container liner giant CMA-CGM, which provided them a 20% share in the company.

For Sealease, the entry of the YILDIRIM Group will provide the company with substantial financial means to respond to the growing demand of leasing solutions and added-value services of the marine industry across the globe.

Founded in 2006 in Brussels by four experts in both the leasing and marine world, Sealease (www.sealease.com) has become a household name in this B2B segment. Offering a "Full Service Lease" product it encompasses the funding of the ships supported by a rift of tailored added-value services (flag registration, insurance, commissioning, maintenance, etc.) better known as "one-stop-shipping".

The marine professionals appreciate this off-balance sheet product where for a monthly recurring fee they can operate their fleet during the length of the lease and focus on their day-to-day business.

To date Sealease operates in 3 main boat segments:
1. the touristic charter market and day-charter market (mainly sail boats),
2. the short sea passenger boat market (diesel, electrical or hybrid), and
3. the specialized utility boat market.

In each of these segments, Sealease is multi-branded and has contacts with all boat manufacturers which also allow providing advice regarding the optimum brand/model for its customers.

By the end of 2010, the worth of Sealease assets grew in excess of €11 million, owning 42 boats which are currently being operated in Europe, Asia, and Middle East under different flags.

The new board of directors is a unique blend of financial strength and market expertise; as majority shareholder YILDIRIM will have 3 seats (including Mr. Robert Yuksel Yildirim) whereas the Sealease day-to-day management will have 2 seats and votes to secure continuity.

The growth potential is significant with a plan to boost the assets in the next few years, both in the existing segments as well as in new product lines. The Sealease management is proud of the acquisition since "it will be able to tap into YILDIRIMʼs credit lines in addition to the existing bank relation and endorse the Sealease credo - We Sea No Limit."

Managing Directors of Sealease and their contact details are as follows:
• Mr. Philippe Wirtz (+32-476-520463) at philippe.wirtz@sealease.com
• Mr. Luc Verstraete (+32-470-528844) at luc.verstraete@sealease.com

About YILDIRIM Group:


The story of the YILDIRIM Group started in 1963, when the father of Robert Yuksel Yildirim, the Chief Executive Officer of the Group, began trading in construction materials in Samsun, along the Black Sea coast of Turkey. The family-owned Group has grown into a diversified outfit with companies in mining, ports, ship-owning, coal trading, import and export of dry bulk material and fertilizer production. In 1989, the Company had moved into the coal trading business which in 1992, led to its involvement in shipping through Yildirim Foreign Trade Inc. and Yilyak Coal Trading Inc.

By the year 2000, the Group was transporting around 3 million tons of coal per year, and Yildirim Foreign Trade Inc. began chartering vessels for the Group's in-house cargoes. YILDIRIM Group established its in-house ship-owning and ship-management company, Yilmar Shipping, in 2000. The Group acquired ETI KROM Inc. (chrome ore mining and high carbon ferrochrome producer) and Gemlik Fertilizer Works Inc. (fertilizer producer) from Turkish Privatization Authorities in 2004.

In February 2008, the Group acquired a Swedish company called Vargon Alloys AB, which is the biggest High Carbon Ferrochrome (HC FeCr) producer in Europe. The deal made the Group worldʼs second largest high quality HC FeCr producer.

In 2005, YILDIRIM Group established YILPORT Container Terminal and Port Operators Inc. in Gebze, Turkey. The facility is currently being developed, and the 2nd stage of the investment project scheduled to be completed by the middle of 2013. This is aimed at giving the port an annual capacity of 1 million TEU. Once the terminal is completed in 2015, YILPORT will reportedly have a capacity of 2 million TEU containers, 5 million tons of general/dry bulk cargo and 1.5 million tons of liquid cargo handling capacity. In 2007, YILDIRIM Group also acquired Marmara Shipyard in Yarimca, Turkey to build its own vessels in order to expand its vessel fleet.

Other international investments and acquisitions being undertaken at the moment include the acquisition of several ports in Europe, Africa, South America and investments in coal mines in the US, Colombia, and other mines in Africa.