The Hamburg-based Schulte Group has received clearance by the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) for the acquisition of LNG ship management specialist PRONAV. This strategic move will bring a further six LNG carriers (LNGC) under full management in the family owned Schulte Group's third-party management fleet. The transaction puts the Schulte Group in a strong position to further exploit ship owning and ship management potential in the growing LNG market. At present, the Schulte Group provides full management for three LNGC and crew management for 21 LNGC. Five LNG carriers with a capacity of 173,000-174,000 cubic meter each and one gas supply vessel (GSV) are set to join the fleet in 2018 and 2019, which will bring the number of the fully managed LNG fleet to 15. “With the acquisition of PRONAV we further enhance the group’s LNG expertise and strengthen our position as the third-party LNG shipmanager of choice. The Schulte Group is well positioned to support the growing demand in this specialised industry sector and we are constantly striving to develop our service portfolio further,” Ian Beveridge, Chief Executive Officer of Schulte Group, said. Last month, the Schulte Group has signed a contract for the acquisition of 100% of the shares in the prestigious LNG ship manager PRONAV - subject to merger approval of the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt). The Schulte Group marked its entry into LNG ownership in 2014. A 174,000 cu.m LNGC is currently being built at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea and is to be delivered end of 2018. The worldwide operating Schulte Group owns about 100 vessels (mainly container, tanker, bulker) and manages 600 vessels in all segments. PRONAV, based in Hamburg, is an internationally renowned ship manager specialized in large LNG tonnage. According to Clarkson Research Services Limited, the trade volume of LNG increased by more than 250% between 2000 and 2017.