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  December 1st, 2016 | Written by

BREAKING NEWS: Maersk Line to Acquire Hamburg Süd

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  • Maersk Line to acquire Hamburg Süd, the world’s seventh largest container shipping line.
  • Hamburg Süd is a leader in the north-south trading lanes.
  • In September Maersk Line announced that it would grow through acquisitions.

Maersk Line and the Oetker Group have reached an agreement announced today for Maersk Line to acquire Hamburg Süd, the German container shipping line.

Hamburg Süd is the world’s seventh largest container shipping line and a leader in the north-south trading lanes. The company operates 130 container vessels with a container capacity of 625,000 TEU. 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. In 2015, Hamburg Süd had revenues of $6.7 billion of which $6.3 billion derived from its container line activities.

The Oekter Group is a European family-run investments company that owns Hamburg Süd.

With the acquisition, Maersk Line will have container capacity of around 3.8 million TEU and an 18.6-percent global capacity share. The combined fleet will consist of 741 container vessels with an average age of 8.7 years.

The acquisition marks an historic change for Maersk, which in the past eschewed acquisitions in favor of organic growth. In September, as part of a reorganization of the Maersk Group, Maersk Line announced that it would grow market share organically and through acquisitions. Growth through acquisitions is seen to mitigate some risk because the carrier would not have to invest as much in new vessels, in an environment of overcapacity.

“Hamburg Süd is a very well-run and highly respected company with strong brands, dedicated employees, and loyal customers,” said Søren Skou, CEO of Maersk Line and the Maersk Group. “Hamburg Süd complements Maersk Line and together we can offer our customers the best of two worlds.”

“While gaining access to a superior network and systems we will continue the Hamburg Süd brand and business model offering personalized solutions to our shippers and consignees,” said Ottmar Gast, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Hamburg Süd Group. “By joining forces, both Maersk and Hamburg Süd will strengthen their product portfolio and cost position to the benefit of their customers.”

The acquisition means that the Oetker Group will be relinquishing an 80 year-old ownership stake in Hamburg Süd. “Maersk will preserve and grow Hamburg Süd,” said August Oetker, Chairman of the Advisory Board of Dr. August Oetker KG, the management holding company of the Oetker Group.

Hamburg Süd and Aliança will continue as separate brands and continue to serve customers through their local offices.

“Hamburg Süd and Aliança have competitive and attractive customer value propositions, which we want to preserve and protect,” said Skou. “We wish to maintain the personal touch and engagement they offer their customers.”

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,” said Skou. “Hamburg Süd and Maersk Line customers will benefit from more choice and better products.”

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval in China, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, the United States, and the European Union. Maersk Line expects the regulatory process to last until the end of 2017. Until then, Hamburg Süd and Maersk Line will continue business as usual.