Deloitte's M&A team advises UACC on landmark merger

25 March 2021 2 min. read

Deloitte has successfully supported United Arab Chemical Carriers (UACC) in its sale to investment firm United Overseas Group for an undisclosed sum. The structure of the deal breaks ground in the Companies Law of the Dubai International Financial Centre.

UACC is a shipping company specialised in transporting chemicals and refined products worldwide. The Dubai-based entity was founded in 2007 is currently owned by an investment consortium featuring the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, the Qatar Investment Authority and other prominent public and private players. 

Regulatory approval pending, UACC has now been sold to United Overseas – an investment group controlled by maritime industry experts and investors Peter Georgiopoulos and Leonidas Vrondissis, who reportedly have a combined private transaction portfolio of over $20 billion under their belt. The sell side of the deal was supported by Deloitte Middle East.

Deloitte advises UACC’s sale to United Overseas

The Big Four accounting and advisory firm was brought on board to manage the sale in 2018, and picked Georgiopoulos’ Maritime Equity Management – owning entity of United Overseas – as the bidder of choice in May 2020. Leading the advisory team was Robin Butteriss, corporate finance advisory partner at Deloitte Middle East.  

“We are honoured to have been selected as trusted advisors by UACC as the company embarks on this new chapter,” said Butteris. UACC’s 20 vessels and chemical tankers will now come under new ownership, in a move that will likely shake up the region’s maritime sector.

Groundbreaking deal structure 

Topping this off, the deal breaks ground for the Dubai International financial Centre (DIFC) – a regional and global business hub aimed at drawing foreign investment and fostering a vibrant innovation environment in the UAE. 

With the UACC sale to United Overseas, the DIFC’s regulatory framework has for the first time ever been used to frame a reverse triangular merger – where an investment company (MEM) forms a subsidiary (United Overseas) that acquires and then blends into a target company (UACC).

Butteriss lauded the deal’s value in setting this precedent, and heralded more opportunities to come. “This merger highlights the opportunities available in the GCC and wider Middle East market as well as Deloitte’s Financial Advisory’s ability in the Middle East to deliver large complex transactions involving multiple service lines.”