Cosco Shipping to Acquire Orient Overseas International
The controlling shareholder of Orient Overseas (International) Limited (OOIL) has accepted an offer for its shares from Cosco Shipping Holdings Co. Ltd. and Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG).
The cash offer came in at HK$78.67, or around US$10.07, for a total of $6.3 billion. On completion, if all OOIL shareholders tender their shares, Cosco Shipping will hold 90.1 percent, while SIPG will hold 9.9 percent of OOIL.
Cosco would surpass CMA CGM as the world’s third-largest container carrier if the deal goes through, behind Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC). The combined company’s North America-to-Asia service would be larger than that of Maersk and CMA CGM.
The offer is dependent on the approval of regulators as well as Cosco Shipping shareholders. The controlling shareholder, who currently holds 68.7 percent of OOIL, has accepted the offer.
The transaction marks the latest consolidation in the global maritime industry. A recent Drewry report indicated that the top five carriers will control around 60 percent of the world’s containership fleet by 2021.
The carriers believe that the combination of Cosco Shipping and OOIL can deliver a stronger competitive advantage. OOIL is the seventh largest container shipping company in the world, with extensive container shipping routes and networks.
The combined Cosco Shipping Lines, a subsidiary of Cosco Shipping Holdings, and OOIL will operate more than 400 vessels over an expanded network, with capacity exceeding 2.9 million TEUs including orderbook. Cosco recently announced that it earned $272 million in profits for the first half of 2017, turning around a $1-billion loss from the first half of 2016.
Both Cosco and OOIL will continue to operate under their own brands after closing. The carriers plan on achieving synergies to enhance operating efficiencies and competitive positions to achieve sustainable growth in the long term. Both companies are members of the Ocean Alliance, and will continue to work together under that framework.
“Our company remains committed to enhancing Hong Kong as an international shipping center,” said Wan Min, Chairman of Cosco Shipping. “Following completion, we will continue to invest and strengthen our industry leadership, providing a more extensive platform for the employees of OOIL to excel.”
“This decision has been carefully considered and we believe it helps ensure the future success of OOIL,” said Andy Tung, executive director of OOIL.
The buyers have committed not to terminate the employment of any employee of OOIL as a result of this transaction for at least 24 months after the close of the offer. They also intend to maintain OOIL’s global headquarter functions and presence in Hong Kong.
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