Maersk to acquire Hamburg Süd

Maersk Line announced today that it is buying Hamburg Süd, the German container shipping line from the Oetker Group. The acquisition is subject to final agreement and regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition solidifies Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping company.

In September, Maersk Line announced that it would grow market share organically and through acquisitions. “The acquisition of Hamburg Süd is in line with our growth strategy and will increase the volumes of both Maersk Line and APM Terminals,” said Søren Skou, CEO of Maersk Line and the Maersk Group, which is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. “Hamburg Süd is a very well-run and highly respected company with strong brands, dedicated employees and loyal customers. Hamburg Süd complements Maersk Line and together we can offer our customers the best of two worlds, particularly in the North – South trades.”

Hamburg Süd is the world’s seventh largest container shipping line and a leader in the North – South trades. The company operates 130 container vessels with a container capacity of 625,000 TEU (20-foot equivalent). It has 5,960 employees in more than 250 offices across the world and markets its services through the Hamburg Süd, CCNI (based in Chile) and Aliança (based in Brazil) brands. Hamburg Süd had a 2015 turnover of USD $6.72 million of which $6.26 million stems from its container line activities. It will remain headquartered in Hamburg. Hamburg Süd and Aliança will continue as separate brands and serve customers through their local offices.

“By joining forces both Maersk and Hamburg Süd will strengthen their product portfolio and cost position to the benefit of their customers,” said Dr. Ottmar Gast, chairman of the executive board of the Hamburg Süd Group.

In the combined network, Hamburg Süd and Maersk Line’s customers will have access to the dedicated end-to-end services provided by Hamburg Süd in the North – South trades as well as the flexibility and reach provided in Maersk Line’s global network. Furthermore, the combined network will enable Maersk Line to develop new products with more direct port calls and shorter transit times.

“Our combined network will provide exciting opportunities to develop new products and exploit operational synergies. Hamburg Süd and Maersk Line customers will benefit from more choice and better products,” Skou said in a statement issued by the company.

The sale ends the 80-year ownership of Hamburg Süd by the Oetker Group. “We are confident [we] have chosen the best of all possible partners. Maersk will preserve and grow Hamburg Süd and what the brand and the whole organization and a highly-dedicated workforce stand for: reliable and high-quality logistical services to our customers,” said Dr. August Oetker, chairman of the board of Oetker KG, the management holding company of the Oetker Group.

The acquisition is subject to due diligence, final agreement and regulatory approval in jurisdictions such as China, Korea, Australia, Brazil, the US, and the EU. Per the company, Maersk expects the regulatory process to last until the end of 2017. Until then, Hamburg Süd and Maersk Line will continue business as usual. The agreement with Hamburg Süd has no financial impact in 2016.

With the acquisition, Maersk Line will have container capacity of around 3.8 million TEU (3.1 million TEU) and an 18.6% (15.7%) global capacity share. The combined fleet will consist of 741 container vessels with an average age of 8.7 years (9.2 years). Maersk Line provides ocean transportation to customers in 112 countries. Maersk Group markets services through the Maersk Line, Submarine, SeaLand (Intra-Americas), MCC Transport (Intra-Asia) and Seago Line (Intra-Europe) brands.

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