The Hoegh family is still standing squarely behind Hoegh Autoliners following its sale of shares worth NOK 766m ($70m) in a private placement.

Investment company Leif Hoegh & Co (LHC) disposed of 12.25m shares representing 6.4% of the Oslo-listed car carrier company in an accelerated book-building process that took five hours on Tuesday night.

The stock was priced at NOK 62.50, a sizeable discount to the NOK 72.70 closing price.

LHC is part-owned by Hoegh Autoliners chairman Leif Hoegh, who explained to TradeWinds that the shares sold were acquired to support the company during its Oslo IPO in 2021.

The IPO was priced at NOK 21, giving LHC a profit of $46m.

Hoegh described the slice as a “small fraction of our holdings” and he pointed out that LHC retains 89% of its previous ownership, or a total of 41.5% of the car carrier operator.

“We are obviously hugely enthusiastic and supportive of the outlook of the company,” the chairman told TradeWinds.

He said the IPO was a tricky time in the financial markets and for the company.

“It’s hard to believe it’s only 18 months ago,” Hoegh added. “At the time, the IPO was tricky to get done and it needed our support to get across the finish line. We were by far the biggest investor in the IPO.”

LHC and its investment banks carried out a “broad marketing exercise to improve the liquidity” ahead of the placement.

The stock was sold to a “couple of dozen investors”, including London-based and Nordic institutions, some hedge funds and some long-term funds — what Hoegh called “the usual smattering of different types of investors”.

Supporting liquidity

“The whole purpose was to do a broad distribution in the placing, and to make sure that we continue to support the liquidity in the stock, which is always very important for a company,” he said.

Hoegh told TradeWinds his investment company has no specific plans for the cash banked from the deal, but the family has “lots of other things” it is involved with.

LHC is also closely associated with the shipowner’s deputy chairman, Morten Hoegh, and another director, Martine Vice Holter, chief executive of Hoegh Capital Partners.

Hoegh Autoliners has been enjoying big profits in record car carrier markets.