MOL Expands Fleet With Reliance Deal

Addition of Six VLECs Extends India Presence

Japanese carrier Mitsui OSK Lines said it plans to expand its fleet through an investment deal with Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries.
The agreement will see Mitsui acquire stakes in six special purpose companies of Reliance Industries and add six very large ethane carriers to its fleet.
“This investment would enable MOL to add six unique VLEC s… MOL has detailed knowledge about these assets having supervised the construction and delivery of the six VLECs and subsequently operating them since their delivery,” said Takeshi Hashimoto, executive vice president of MOL.

Strengthened Partnership with RIL

The deal will see MOL “significantly strengthen” its existing relationship with Reliance to target further growth in India and enlarge its asset base in the country.
“Investment by MOL will deepen our relationship with them and ensure continued safe and efficient operations of the VLECs. We welcome MOL as a strategic partner into the special purpose vehicles as they move beyond the current operator role to joint owner and operator role in the special purpose vehicles,” said P.M.S. Prasad, executive director of RIL.

Record Petrochemicals EBIT Boosts Growth

Headquartered in Mumbai, Reliance is the largest publicly traded company in India by market capitalization and owns businesses across the energy, petrochemicals, textiles, natural resources, retail, and telecommunications sectors.

In its most recent filing the group reported record profitability for its petrochemicals business thanks to rising volumes and margin improvement in its polyester chain operations, raising prospects for breakbulk demand as it reinvests returns.

“Our petrochemicals business delivered its highest ever earnings. I am proud of the entire Reliance team; their hard work and dedication has laid the foundation for these achievements,” said Mukesh D. Ambani, managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd.

ASEAN Expansion

MOL's investment in Reliance follows the acquisition of a stake in Malaysian transport firm PKT Logistics Group last year. The deal saw MOL raising its stake from 20.86 percent to 35.13 percent to strengthen the group’s foothold in Malaysia as well as in adjacent regions.

The group cited the opportunities to leverage “collaborative synergies” between PKT and MOL Group, particularly MOL Worldwide Logistics for non-vessel-operating common carrier business, as part of a strategy to expand its logistics network in the steadily growing Asian market.
Headquartered in Toranomon, Tokyo, MOL operates a variety of breakbulk shipping services via its global fleet of over 850 vessels. The group is one of the largest cargo shipping lines in the world and alongside multipurpose vessels its fleet includes dry cargo ships, liquefied natural gas carriers, roll-on, roll-off car carrier ships, tankers and container ships.

Photo: C.S. Star. Credit: MOL