Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries (RIL) has agreed to divest its stake in six fleet companies to Japanese shipping major Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL).

RIL owns the stake in these companies through its Singapore-based subsidiary Reliance Ethane Holding (REHPL).

The six special-purpose companies each own a very large ethane carrier (VLEC).

Mitsui OSK, which manages a fleet of more than 850 vessels, is currently operating all six REHPL ethane carriers.

Upon completion of the transaction, MOL and REHPL will become the joint owner of these vessels.

Reliance Industries executive director Panda Madhusudana Siva Prasad said: “Given MOL is currently the operator of all six VLECs, investment by MOL will deepen our relationship with them and ensure continued safe and efficient operations of the VLECs.

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“We welcome MOL as a strategic partner into the SPVs as they move beyond the current operator role to joint owner and operator role in the SPVs.”

“Investment by MOL will deepen our relationship with them and ensure continued safe and efficient operations of the VLECs.”

MOL is one of the largest LNG carriers across the globe. Its fleet includes other tankers, dry bulkers, ferries and coastal RoRo ships, as well as car carriers and cruise vessels.

Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice-president Takeshi Hashimoto said: “This investment would enable MOL to add six unique VLECs, which we have been operating for some time now, as owners to its existing fleet of over 850 vessels, which include LNG carriers, other tankers, dry bulkers, car carriers, ferries and coastal RoRo ships and cruise ships.

“We also have container ships, which are chartered by ONE. MOL has detailed knowledge about these assets having supervised the construction and delivery of the six VLECs and subsequently operating them since their delivery.

“We are therefore happy and look forward to using this strategic opportunity to be a joint owner and to significantly strengthen our existing relationship with Reliance.”