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Germany: Shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd in merger talks with rival UASC

 |  April 21, 2016

Hapag-Lloyd AG, the German container shipping line that counts billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuehne as one of its biggest shareholders, is in merger talks with Middle Eastern competitor United Arab Shipping Co. as they grapple with dwindling freight prices in a consolidating industry, according to a person familiar with the discussions.

The plans may be made public as soon as Thursday, said the person, who declined to be identified as the talks are private. Manager Magazin reported the discussions earlier. Hapag-Lloyd, based in Hamburg, declined to comment on the report. The shares surged 13 percent to trade at 18.45 euros as of 12:11 a.m. in Frankfurt, rising to the highest level since January.

A merger would give Hapag-Lloyd immediate access to some of the largest container ships available as UASC has six ships with a capacity of 18,800 standard 20-foot containers, a size the Hamburg carrier so far lacks and which is key to operating on Asia-Europe trade routes. The combined company would rank fifth in the industry dominated by the Danish shipping giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, according to calculations based on data by trade publication Alphaliner on operated fleets as of Thursday.

Full Content: The Wall Street Journal

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