The Next Generation Takes Ownership in USTC


First financial steps have been made to cement the planned succession process of Torben Østergaard-Nielsen’s global shipping group United Shipping & Trading Company (USTC), based in Middelfart, Denmark.

The next generation in the family-owned business, daughters Nina Østergaard Borris and Mia Østergaard Nielsen, have become co-owners via the parent company Selfinvest. In the future, they will take even greater part in the active ownership of the group.

With more than 2,500 employees distributed on 101 offices in 33 countries worldwide, the USTC group is engaged in activities in oil (Bunker Holding), tanker shipping (Uni-Tankers), shipping, logistics & chartering (SDK), risk management (Global Risk Management), cargo trading (Unioil Supply), IT (Unit IT) and cars (Selected Car Group). In addition, the parent company Selfinvest has built up a Family Office, which, among other activities, handles the group’s investments, ranging from securities to direct investments in companies and properties. The family’s active ownership of the group is also managed through Selfinvest Family Office.

Via the group’s parent company Selfinvest, the future ownership will be distributed by 1/3 to Torben Østergaard-Nielsen and 1/3 to each of the two daughters. Torben Østergaard-Nielsen still heads the group and holds the controlling class A shares.

“You could say that we made the most important decision back in 2017, when Nina and Mia made it clear that they want to be an important part of the group’s future. Since then, we’ve worked determinedly in accordance with the established plans, both on their development in and outside the group and on the formal part surrounding a succession,” says Torben Østergaard-Nielsen.

“I still have no plans either to reduce my workload or retire. But it gives us peace of mind to get this important step in place, not just for us as an owner family, but also for our employees and other stakeholders worldwide.

“I’m first and foremost pleased that the group has the financial strength to implement a costly succession process. And now that this step is in place, we can again focus fully on the group’s general growth and development plans.”

The next generation

For the past six years, Nina Østergaard Borris has been Executive Assistant and Head of M&A in Bunker Holding, the USTC group’s largest business unit, focusing on business optimization, strategy and M&A. In January 2020, she joined the Executive Board of USTC as COO with responsibility for business optimization and development of the group’s operating companies in close interaction with the companies’ Executive Boards as well as Torben Østergaard-Nielsen. Concurrently, she holds directorships in USTC, Uni-Tankers and SDK, and she is also a member of the Council of Owners in Selfinvest Family Office together with both her father and sister.

Torben Østergaard-Nielsen’s youngest daughter Mia continues her development outside USTC in line with the established plans and has just been promoted to Associate with the executive search and leadership consulting firm Spencer Stuart. She also takes active part in the USTC group, where she is a member of Bunker Holding’s Board of Directors and of the Council of Owners.

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