Maersk Line to buy German container shipping company

The container shipping unit of Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk said on Thursday it had agreed to buy German peer Hamburg Sud, as the industry consolidates amid a downturn.

Maersk Line to buy German container shipping company
Shipping containers belonging to Hamburg Sud and Maersk companies are seen stacked at La Guaira port in Venezuela. Photo: Marco Bello/Scanpix
“The acquisition of Hamburg Sud is in line with our growth strategy and will increase the volumes of both Maersk Line and APM Terminals,” the chief executive of Maersk Line and the Maersk Group, Søren Skou, said in a statement.
Part of the family-owned Oetker Group, Hamburg Sud operates 130 container vessels and is the world's seventh largest container shipping line, with $6.73 billion (€$6.06 billion) in revenue last year.
The acquisition takes Maersk Line's global capacity share to 18.6 percent from 15.7 percent.
“Maersk Line expects to communicate further details following the approval of the sales and purchase agreement expected early in the second quarter of 2017,” the company said, adding that it planned to complete the transaction by the end of next year.
The shipping industry is undergoing a wave of consolidation after suffering its worst downturn in six decades amid overcapacity and slumping global trade.
Japan's three largest shipping firms said in October they were merging their container businesses, and France's CMA CGM earlier this year bought Singapore-based container liner Neptune Orient Lines (NOL).
Hanjin — South Korea's largest shipping company and once the world's seventh biggest — filed for bankruptcy protection in August.

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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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