BW Group

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BW Group Limited
Industry Shipping
Headquarters Oslo and Singapore
Area served
Key people
Chairman: Andreas Sohmen-Pao; CEO: Carsten Mortensen
Number of employees
4,500 (2016)

The BW Group, previously Bergesen Worldwide, is an international maritime group that through its subsidiaries operates within the tanker, gas and offshore segments, with a fleet of more than 100 owned, part-owned or controlled vessels. The group has seven business areas: crude tankers, product tankers, chemical tankers, LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) carriers, offshore floating production vessels (FPSO) and offshore technology (mooring systems for FPSOs and offshore LNG terminals). The company was created as a merger between Bergesen d.y. and World-Wide Shipping. Operations are performed by subsidiaries, with BW Gas and BW Offshore being publicly listed companies. BW Gas delisted in 2009. Main offices are in Oslo and Singapore while the holding company is registered in Bermuda.

The BW Group comprises BW Offshore, BW LPG, BW Pacific, BW LNG, BW VLCC, BW Chemical Tankers, BW Dry Cargo and BW Fleet Management.

With offices in eight countries, BW Group employs more than 4,500 people. BW Group manages the world’s largest independently owned and operated fleet of gas carriers (LNG and LPG), and the second largest fleet of FPSO vessels.


The BW group includes two long-standing shipping businesses: World-Wide Shipping (founded by Sir Yue-Kong Pao) and Bergesen d.y. which was acquired by World-Wide in 2003.

In the late 1970s, two British Hongs were taken over by Chinese entrepreneurs: Hutchison Whampoa Ltd by Li Ka-Shing, and Kowloon Wharf by Yue-Kong Pao. Y.K. Pao was a native from Ningbo, Zhejiang province who came to Hong Kong in 1949 and acquired an aging ship to establish the Worldwide Shipping Company in 1955. At its peak in 1979 World-Wide had 204 ships totalling 20,500,000 tonnes deadweight (DWT). In the shipping downturn starting in 1978, World-Wide sold tonnage while prices were still reasonable, paying off debt and building cash resources. In less than five years the fleet had halved in size, allowing World-Wide to avoid the crises suffered by many shipping companies.

In 1989, Pao passed on his interest in World-Wide to his eldest daughter, Anna Sohmen-Pao, shortly before his death in 1991. World-Wide was ranked as the sixth largest shipping fleet (number of vessels) in the world in 2004 and has been chaired by Helmut Sohmen, Pao's eldest daughter's husband, since 1986.

In late 2000, following a period of stakebuilding starting in Bergesen d.y., the Sohmen family came to an agreement in March 2003 with Morten Bergesen and Petter Sundt, the controlling family shareholders, to buy their interest in Bergesen and mount a full public offering for all outstanding shares.

In 2004, following completion of this transaction, there was a reorganisation of the Sohmen family interests, with the creation of a new top holding company, Bergesen Worldwide Ltd., registered in Bermuda, which is owned 93% by the Sohmen family and 7% by HSBC. The holding company was subsequently renamed BW Group Limited.

In 2005, a further re-organisation took place, accompanied by the re-branding of the business under a single group brand, BW. BW Gas was listed in Oslo in October 2005 as a pure gas shipping company with the BW Group retaining a majority share. BW Offshore followed suit by being listed in May 2006. The other assets remain in private ownership.

In 2009, BW Gas was privatised. On 21 November 2013, the LPG business was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange as BW LPG.

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