Macquarie Korea Asset Management (Macquarie PE) will acquire a controlling stake in Onsan Tank Terminal through tank terminal operator United Terminal Korea (UTK) as part of its bolt-on strategy of expanding the terminal operations business in Ulsan region.

UTK has signed a stock purchase agreement to buy a 60% stake in Onsan Tank Terminal, which is owned by Yesco and Yesco Holdings chairman Koo Ja-cheol, industry sources said on Tuesday (December 15). The acquisition price is reportedly in a mid-20 billion won ($18 million) range, with the deal expected to be closed by the end of this year.

UTK was established in 2017 by Macquarie PE after it acquired a 100% stake in Taeyoung Horizon Korea Terminal in Ulsan, Gyeongsang Province. The company operated terminals containing 41 tanks of 230,000 kiloliters (1.2 million liters) capacity when it was acquired by Macquarie PE. By October this had grown to 468,000 kl (4.6 million liters) in 67 tanks.

Macquarie PE’s latest investment is aligned with South Korea’s Northeast Asian Oil Hub Project, which aims to make Ulsan the center of petroleum trading in the region. The PE firm could make additional investments in facilities and piping after 2021.

Onsan Tank Terminal was founded in 2010 as a joint venture company between Yesco and Japan’s Nakagawa Bussan. Its major shareholders are Yesco with a 48% stake and Nakagawa Bussan with 36.64%.

The company has recorded earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 5 billion won over the past few years and industry watchers expect this trend to continue.

Macquarie PE, which has been seeking investment opportunities in domestic infrastructure assets, is expected to maintain its activities in Ulsan region. The firm has invested in tank terminal operators in Japan, China and Singapore and exited its investment in North East Chemicals and Koentec in Ulsan. (Reporting by Ar-rum Rho)