Maersk Line to buy smaller rival Hamburg Süd

Maersk Line, the world's biggest shipping company, today reached a deal to buy smaller rival Hamburg Süd, its first big acquisition after it acquired P&O Nedlloyd in 2006.

The deal comes after Maersk Line recently acquired and chartered ships from its South Korean bankrupt peer Hanjin Shipping Co.

Copenhagen-based Maersk, did not reveal the financial terms of the transaction, but some media reports suggested that the deal size was around $5 billion.

The acquisition is subject to due diligence, final agreement and regulatory approval in China, Korea, Australia, Brazil, the US and the EU.

Hamburg Süd, part of the Oetker Group, a family-owned German conglomerate involved in shipping, banking, food and beverages, is the world's seventh-biggest container operator in terms of capacity.

Founded in 1871, Hamburg Süd is one of the leading providers in the North-South trades and has a total of 130 container ships, including 48 owned and 82 chartered, and 59 chartered Tramp ships, and has annual revenue of $6.7 billion.

Maersk, which moves about 15 per cent of global seaborne freight, has recently said that it is looking for acquisitions to increase its market share and the deal will deal will boost its presence in global trade with Latin America.

''I am very pleased that we have reached an agreement with the Oetker Group to acquire Hamburg Süd. 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, first of all in the North - South trades,'' said Sĝren Skou, CEO of Maersk Line and the Maersk Group.

''Giving up our engagement in shipping after an 80 year-long ownership in Hamburg Süd was not an easy decision for my family. We are very confident, though, to have chosen the best of all possible partners. Maersk will preserve and grow Hamburg Süd and what the brand and the whole organisation and a highly dedicated workforce stand for: reliable and high quality logistical services to our customers,'' said Dr August Oetker, chairman of the advisory board of Dr. August Oetker KG, the management holding company of the Oetker Group.

Maersk is the world's largest container shipping company providing ocean transportation in all parts of the world.

It has 317 offices in 112 countries, employs more than 88,000 people in around 130 countries, operates 611 container vessels and has annual revenues of $40.3 billion.

It markets its services through the Maersk Line, Safmarine, SeaLand (Intra-Americas), MCC Transport (Intra-Asia) and Seago Line (Intra-Europe) brands.