China Approves Maersk Line’s Acquisition of Hamburg Süd

The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) in China approved Danish shipping giant Maersk Line’s proposed acquisition of Hamburg Süd on November 8.

The move comes only a day after the shipping company informed that only three more approvals remained to be secured as Maersk Line earlier received clearance for the acquisition in 18 jurisdictions.

The approval is subject to conditions, which are that Maersk Line commits not to extend Hamburg Süd’s membership of a vessel sharing agreement (VSA) currently active on the Far East Asia – West Coast of South America trade route, and that it commits to terminate Hamburg Süd’s membership of a VSA on the Far East Asia – East Coast of South America trade route on the earliest date permitted.

Maersk Line further commits within five years of closing, not to enter into vessel sharing agreements with its main competitors.

Moreover, for a period of three years Maersk Line commits to reduce the combined capacity of Hamburg Süd and Maersk Line for shipping of reefer containers on the Far East Asia – West Coast of South America trade route. The capacity reduction is from the current level of 45-50% to a level of 34-39%. The company added that Hamburg Süd will remain active on the abovementioned trade routes also in the future.

The committed changes will become effective after closing of the proposed acquisition, expected before end of 2017, according to Maersk Line.

“We are very pleased that the proposed acquisition of Hamburg Süd has now been approved in China. China is a key market for us and we strongly believe the proposed acquisition of Hamburg Süd will enhance the value proposition for the local customers of both companies,” Søren Toft, Maersk Line’s Chief Operating Officer, said.

Until closing of the acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals, Hamburg Süd and Maersk Line will continue business as usual.

Maersk Line informed in its conference call on November 7 that it is going through motions with relevant authorities from the remaining geographies on clearing the deal. In the best case scenario the remaining approvals would be obtained by the end of this month, Søren Skou, CEO of Maersk Group, said.

Danish container giant said it would acquire Hamburg Süd for EUR 3.7 billion (USD 4.3 billion) on a cash and debt-free basis, which it plans to fully finance through an already secured syndicated loan facility.

Once the acquisition is completed, Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd will have a total container capacity of around 3.9 million TEU (3.3 million TEU) and an 18.7% (16%) global capacity share. The combined fleet will consist of 743 container vessels.

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