UK’s Inchcape goes to Dubai investment house

Dubai-based Istithmar reportedly beat off competition from Carlyle, Exponent and 3i to purchase the shipping services firm for $285 million.

Electra Investment Trust, a London-listed trust managed by European buyout firm Electra Partners, has sold UK marine management provider Inchcape Shipping Services.

The London-based company was sold to Istithmar, a United Arab Emirates investment house.

The transaction, valued at $285 million (€240 million), will result in Electra receiving cash proceeds inclusive of accrued income of $178.38 million upon completion according to the firm. Completion is expected at the end of January.

Investment bank Lazard advised Electra Partners on the sale.

According to a report in the Sunday Times, the Electra Investment Trust has owned Inchcape Shipping Services since 1999, when it acquired the firm from motor distributor Inchcape for around £40 million (€58 million; $69 million). The report said that The Carlyle Group, Exponent Private Equity and 3i also made bids for the company.

Neither Electra Partners nor Istithmar were immediately available for comment.

Inchcape Shipping Services has a network of 2,300 people across 200 offices in 47 countries, servicing over 2,500 clients across the oil, cruise, navy, container and commodity sectors.

Istithmar’s activities in the West have focused more recently on real estate transactions, with the firm acquiring 230 Park Avenue in Manhattan for $705 million in October 2005 and London’s One Trafalgar Square for £155 million in November.