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Hapag-Lloyd's big shareholder Kuehne proposes merger with Hamburg Sud

  04.07.2012    

The biggest individual shareholder of German flag carrier Hapag-Lloyd, Klaus-Michael Kuehne, has suggested that Hapag-Lloyd merge with Hamburg Sud to restore its old position as fourth largest box carrier with a combined fleet of 1.05 million TEU to compete with the top three: Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM, according to the Shipping Gazette. 
But the chance of successful merger is slight, said maritime analyst Alphaliner, because the sole owner of Hamburg Sud, the Oetker group, might not be interested in doing so and has rejected similar proposals in the past. Hamburg Sud is currently the world's 12th largest carrier and operates a fleet of 411,000 TEU, according to Alphaliner's figures. Hapag-Lloyd has slipped to sixth place behind Chinese mainland's Cosco and Taiwan's Evergreen.
Hapag-Lloyd now runs a fleet of 642,000 TEU. Kuehne and HGV, the City of Hamburg's investment arm, are the two largest shareholders in the Albert-Ballin consortium that owns 77.9 per cent of the carrier.
Another independent shareholder is TUI AG, which possesses the remaining 22.1 per cent. TUI has decided to quit the container shipping business by 2013 and sold 17.4 per cent of Hapag-Lloyd's shares in June for EUR475 million. For the remaining shares, it plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) or look for third-party buyers. But Alphaliner said both alternatives are not attractive at present due to poor stock valuation of container shipping sector.


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