Merger, Private Placement and Listing
In January 2019, the new “Hafnia” was launched as a result of the merger between Hafnia Tankers Ltd and BW Tankers Limited, and a new significant player within the product tanker market became a reality. The Company continued Hafnia Tankers’ listing on the N-OTC list until the listing on Oslo Axess was implemented in November 2019.
Interview with employees on merger, culture and values
How did you experience the merger between BW Tankers and Hafnia Tankers?
Joakim: Company mergers are an essential part of the shipping world, and I am sure that the merger between Hafnia Tankers and BW Tankers has helped the companies and us as employees achieve greater growth by combining resources.
Shuzhen: Agree, but despite these advantages, mergers can also mean employee layoffs, and merging companies with different cultures can be challenging with a lot of uncertainties. However, management kept communication channels open and people knew their positions relatively quickly. Overall, it has been positive with people having open minds and fostering a friendly atmosphere.
Jacqueline: I joined the Hafnia team shortly after the merger, and it was extremely heart-warming to be welcomed by Hafnia with open arms, from both the ex-BW Tankers colleagues and also the new colleagues from ex-Hafnia Tankers. It amazed me as to how the employees from two different companies had grown into one big family in such a short period of time. My initial thoughts as a new hire was that post-merger, Hafnia did not seemed like one that had recently merged – with two different company, different values, different culture and different procedures.
Did you prepare for the merger and integration of a new business unit and new colleagues?
Emil: I think one of the bigger points for me was the importance of transparency. Of course, we appreciated that management could not share every single business detail, and I think we got the expected pre-merger transparency in terms of an insight on how the merger would affect our team and us.
Hayati: I came from Hafnia Tankers, and to be honest, I was a bit worried prior to the merger. However, the process and impact was clearly and properly explained to us before we moved into the BW office, and this established great faith in management as they kept us updated throughout the process. When the moving day came, it was nice to see familiar faces that I worked with previously and feel welcomed by the BW team.
Siew Ying: Communication is key, and I took part in the internal preparations for the integration process. There was a clear project plan and it was clear that management’s top priority has been the people.
Jacqueline: It is common for employees to go through a period of confusion and doubt as to the direction the company is heading towards. I felt that management had done a great job in reaching out to each and every employee – e.g. to address certain worries that they may be going through and questions they may have. Most importantly, there were open communications channels within the company and these allowed each employee to participate in the integration process by sharing their opinions and feedback.
Shuzhen: It was important to consider what is changing and how it will affect us as employees and the work we do on a daily basis. I had to set up a new team with new processes and people. This was demanding but with the strong support from management, I was able to gain confidence during the integration.
What are the strengths of Hafnia as an employer?
Jacqueline: I feel that every employee is important and all of us are given the opportunity to contribute and make meaningful impact. This also allows the employees to take ownership of their work. In essence, Hafnia values its employees and that in itself speaks volume.
Joakim: Hafnia’s strengths are that we have a clear and specific purpose as a company, and we are shown how our roles enables us to achieve the company’s mission. It’s clear to me that we aim to live our values and that the organisation stresses teamwork while still encouraging individual achievement and creativity.
Hayati: Hafnia as a whole (post merger) now achieves much greater success and Hafnia does have the strengths to be the leading company with the right attitude by all staff and management.
Shuzhen: People, people, people. Emil: Yes exactly, and that you feel part of a group pulling together towards a common goal.
Following the merger, you all participated in the company’s culture & values workshops. What were your key learnings from the workshops?
Siew Ying: One thing I learned is that we should walk the talk and not be putting on a “show” during the workshops, while doing things differently around the office.
Hayati: During the workshops, we were able to voice our opinions and suggestions, and we were heard. I feel that I am a part of Hafnia, and although I do not hold a “high ranking” position, it makes me glad, positive and proud knowing that the company listens to its employees and tries to see from our point of view.
Shuzhen: Our CARE values (Collaborative, Ambitious, Reliable, Enduring) has been embedded in our everyday professional life. These values have and should be reflected in how we work, which include being honest and keeping an open mind with a positive attitude. As all employees start knowing and applying the values, I believe that we will also gain more satisfaction out of the workplace and be happier at work.
Joakim: The workshops were great, and I believe that the whole organisation benefitted, and that this will help us in strengthening the business commercially.
How does the professional development and work opportunities in Hafnia reflect the global nature of the shipping industry?
Jacqueline: The global shipping industry is constantly evolving and transforming and the same goes for Hafnia – there are many moving parts, which allows us to have varied work experience. I am in Hafnia’s Corporate Finance and you would think that it is all about the money. However, there have been a new global framework implementation in the finance industry, which calls for responsible ship financing which will help incentivise shipping’s decarbonisation in line with the IMO’s climate goals. This has allowed me to get a better understanding of the different aspects of shipping (i.e. carbon emission reporting, compliance with MARPOL and etc) which I would otherwise, not have had a chance to.
Shuzhen: Hafnia provides great international opportunities and exposure to different parts of the business with visits to our global offices, shipyards, and investors. Recently, we concluded a refinancing with 10 Asian and European banks, and this is just yet another example of how Hafnia is a global player in the product tanker business.
Siew Ying: I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to move to another role which help to strengthens knowledge on OPEX controlling and at the same time develop new skills and knowledge working with the bunker team.
Emil and Joakim: Working in an international environment involves having to interact and work with people coming from very different backgrounds, in this respect Hafnia is as a workplace “second to none”.