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Star continues as two companies

Star continues as two companies
Masterbulk (Westfal-Larsen) and Grieg have agreed on a new structure for Star Shipping. The operations will continue through two new, strong companies.

Star Shipping continues as two companies

Masterbulk (Westfal-Larsen) and Grieg have agreed on a new structure for Star Shipping. The operations will continue through two new, strong companies.

Westfal-Larsen, through the Singapore subsidiary Masterbulk, and Grieg have shared a strong and profitable cooperation over several years in Star Shipping, but have recently had diverging views with regards to the company"s future strategy. The split of Star Shipping"s operations into two companies is a necessary consequence of this. In addition, the currently favourable market situation has made today"s decision possible.

?Star Shipping is a success story and the global market leader in its segment, a position to which both owners have contributed strongly?, stated Ragnar Nielsen of Masterbulk, and Camilla and Elisabeth Grieg of Grieg Group. ?Now, however, is the time to pursue future success under separate flags.?

?The time has come to develop Star Shipping along two separate paths, each building on the best of our achieve­ments. Both parties believe strongly in the company"s concept, which they plan to develop within separate strategies and structures. The open hatch division will be divided geographically between the two owners, according to established sailing routes. Grieg will in addition take over the conventional bulk division.?

Åke H. Gregertsen, CEO of Star Shipping, has led the company through a difficult period in a solid manner. Tor Schumann Olsen will now take over the helm of the part of operations that joins Masterbulk (Westfal-Larsen), while Tom Rasmussen will head the Star Shipping unit that joins Grieg Group.

?While Star Shipping"s employees will obviously have mixed emotions with regards to this announcement, they all have a future in the two strong companies. The owners are in agreement about this solution, which we believe to be to the benefit of the operations, our employees and our customers,? said Ragnar Nielsen and Camilla Grieg.

Westfal-Larsen consolidates operations

Masterbulk will take over Star"s main office location and will continue the cooperation in Bergen by marketing its 19 Open Hatch ships and 3 ships currently under construction, under the name of Westfal-Larsen Shipping.

Westfal-Larsen is currently marketing its 5 chemical tankers through the wholly-owned company Westchart and is expanding this part of operations with 6 chemical tankers currently under construction for delivery in 2009, as well as 2 new contracts signed last week, for delivery in 2011. The consolidation of the two shipping units will provide Masterbulk and Westfal-Larsen with additional strength and competitiveness.

Grieg maintains operations and Star Shipping name under Grieg Group umbrella

The Grieg Group operates in several business areas ? from logistics, fish farming and investment consulting, to maritime operations. The group currently owns 23 Open Hatch ships, and is expanding its fleet with an additional 4 equivalent ships for delivery in 2009. Grieg"s part of Star Shipping will be incorporated under the Grieg Group umbrella, and will carry both the Grieg and Star names. Grieg will also own the Star flag and the logo and prefix of the ships" names. The Grieg part of Star Shipping will move to Grieg Gaarden.

?The split marks the beginning of a new era. Our strong balance sheet and willingness to take action and initiate activities form an excellent base for further expansion. We look forward to developing the company further, by uniting Grieg"s part of Star Shipping"s know-how and expertise with our own. The market is exciting and challenging, and provides a host of opportunities,? concluded Elisabeth and Camilla Grieg.

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