Maersk eyeing purchase of Singapore’s NOL

Singapore container shipping firm Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) said at the weekend it was in talks with Denmark's A.P. Moeller-Maersk and France's CMA CGM SA over a potential sale of the company.

Maersk eyeing purchase of Singapore's NOL
In a statement filed with the Singapore Exchange on Saturday, NOL said the talks were “preliminary” and were in relation to “a potential acquisition” of the Singapore firm.
“NOL has a duty to assess all options to maximize shareholder value and improve its competitiveness,” the statement said.
It added however that “there is no assurance that any such discussions will result in any definitive agreement or transaction, or that any offer for NOL will be made”.
Marseille-based container transportation and shipping company CMA CGM has made a preliminary offer for NOL, which has a market value of Sg$2.7 billion ($1.9 billion), Bloomberg News reported, quoting people with knowledge of the talks.
CMA CGM is carrying out due diligence on NOL, which is 65 percent owned by Singapore state-linked investment firm Temasek Holdings, although the French shipping firm has not been granted exclusivity, Bloomberg added.
Maersk is also talking separately with NOL but the discussions are less advanced, Bloomberg said.
NOL has been racking up losses due to sluggish global trade and lower freight rates.
Last month, the company reported a net loss of $96 million for the third quarter, widening from a loss of $23 million in the same period the year before.
NOL this year sold its logistics business — APL Logistics Ltd. — to Japan's Kintetsu World Express Inc. for $1.2 billion.

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Maersk profits up as global supply chain disrupted

Danish shipping giant, AP Møller-Maersk, said Tuesday that profits were up sixfold in the third quarter as the coronavirus pandemic and global supply chain problems caused container prices to soar. 

Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen. The Danish shipping company posted hefty profits in the third quarter of 2021.
Maersk headquarters in Copenhagen. The Danish shipping company posted hefty profits in the third quarter of 2021. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix

“Maersk delivered record earnings” in the third quarter, chief executive Soren Skou said.

“In the ongoing exceptional market situation, with high demand in the US and global disruptions to the supply chains, we continued to increase capacity and expand our offerings to keep cargo moving for our customers.” 

Maersk said that its bottom-line net profit amounted to $5.438 billion in the period from July to September, compared with $947 million a year earlier.

Underlying, or operating, profit increased nearly fivefold to $5.859 billion and revenues jumped by 67 percent to $16.612 billion.

“Results in Q3 were driven by high freight rates in an exceptional market situation,” the group said.

Looking ahead, Maersk said it is sticking to its full year forecast for operating profit of 18-19 billion dollars. 

However, the ocean shipping division “is now expected to grow below” projected global container demand of between seven and nine percent this year, “subject to high uncertainties related to the current congestion and network disruption,” Maersk said.

“The current trading conditions are still subject to a higher-than-normal uncertainty due to the temporary nature of current demand patterns, disruptions in the supply chains,” it cautioned.

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