Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. (NYSE: KMP) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire American Petroleum Tankers (APT) and State Class Tankers (SCT) from affiliates of The Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) and Cerberus Capital Management for $962 million in cash. APT and SCT are engaged in the marine transportation of crude oil, condensate and refined products in the United States domestic trade, commonly referred to as the Jones Act trade.
APT’s fleet consists of five medium range Jones Act qualified product tankers, each with 330,000 barrels of cargo capacity. With an average vessel age of approximately four years, the APT fleet is one of the youngest in the industry. Each of APT’s vessels is operating pursuant to long-term time charters with high quality counterparties, including major integrated oil companies, major refiners and the U.S. Navy. These time charters have an average remaining term of approximately four years, with renewal options to extend the initial terms by an average of two years. APT’s vessels are operated by Crowley Maritime Corporation, which was founded in 1892 and is a leading operator and technical manager in the U.S. product tanker industry.
SCT has commissioned the construction of four medium range Jones Act qualified product tankers, each with 330,000 barrels of cargo capacity. The vessels are scheduled to be delivered in 2015 and 2016 and are being constructed by General Dynamics’ NASSCO shipyard. Upon delivery, the SCT vessels will be operated pursuant to long-term time charters with a major integrated oil company. Each of the time charters has an initial term of five years, with renewal options to extend the initial term by up to three years. Kinder Morgan will invest approximately $214 million to complete the construction of the SCT vessels.
“This is a strategic and complementary extension of our existing crude oil and refined products transportation business,” said John Schlosser, president of KMP’s Terminals segment. “Product demand is growing and sources of supply continue to change, in part due to the increased shale activity. As a result, there is more demand for waterborne transportation to move these products. We are purchasing tankers that provide stable fee-based cash flow through multi-year contracts with major credit worthy oil producers.”
Blackstone and Cerberus are pleased to have founded and built American Petroleum Tankers into a market-leading Jones Act tanker company,” said Sean Klimczak, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone. “We have enjoyed our partnership with APT’s management team and wish them continued success with Kinder Morgan in this next phase of APT’s growth.”
The transaction, which is subject to standard regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, at which time it will be immediately accretive to cash available to KMP unitholders. APT currently generates about $55 million of annual EBITDA. After completion of construction of the four SCT vessels, KMP expects combined annual EBITDA of approximately $140 million, which is an EBITDA multiple of 8.4 times. The general partner of KMP, Kinder Morgan, Inc., has agreed to waive its incentive distribution amounts of $16 million in 2014 and $19 million in 2015 and $6 million in 2016 to facilitate the transaction.