The family owners of Oetker conglomerate’s German liner, Hamburg Süd, are currently meeting today, November 30th, 2016 to debate whether or not they will be consolidating their 7th largest liner into a bigger company during the brutal wave of liner consolidations that have jarred the liner shipping industry this year. Many media outlets have reported over Thanksgiving weekend that the owners would be meeting this week to discuss the future of the German ocean carrier, with Lloyd’s List and the Wall Street Journal being amongst them. There is an understanding that the meeting between family members are split as to whether or not they wish to retain the carrier. With Hamburg Süd being the 7th largest container carrier and a powerhouse Latin America/Australia trade cornerstone, many have speculated that Maersk Line will be interested in acquiring Hamburg Süd. Both Maersk and Hamburg Süd have declined to comment on the reports when asked.
With over 9,500 TEUs per week in North Europe to East Coast of South America trade, the family-owned Hamburg Süd kept tight lips regarding information about profits and losses, yet at a year-end commentary, Oetker mentioned they were able to increase their total revenues to 6.057 billion euros in 2015, which was 16.8% more than in 2014; also increasing the number of containers they carried in 2015 to 4.1 million TEUs, which is 21.5% more than what they did in 2014. With 117 containerships, where 44 are owned and 73 are chartered, totaling an aggregate capacity of 602,908 TEUs, and another 8 container ships on order, this alliance unaffiliated independent line has caught the eye of Maersk Line, whom is allegedly thought to be first in line to consider purchasing Hamburg Süd to expand their presence in Latin America, where Hamburg Süd calls on over 30 ports. Maersk’s CEO, Soren Skou, confirmed in September that Maersk Line was mulling acquisitions in their bid to grow in line with the market and unveiled that their group’s new strategy of acquiring rather than building new ships as part of their overall plan, while splitting their shipping, ports, and logistics operations from their energy division.
“We don’t comment on any market rumor,” stated Christiane Krämer, a spokesperson for Hamburg Süd. Maersk spokesperson Mikkel Elbek Linnet echoed the same when asked whether Maersk Line is in talks with Hamburg Süd, simply stating, “We cannot comment on speculation.” Nonetheless, maritime analysist Alphaliner is reporting that CMA CGM has placed a bid for the German carrier, and their bid indicates the French line has high interest in maintaining their growth momentum after completing their acquisition of APL in June, even though Maersk Line’s strong balance sheets make the Danish carrier the blatant courter. With a selling price in the ballpark of $5 billion or so, Alphaliner mentions that CMA CGM’s heavy debt burden of $9.6 billion could limit the price they are willing to pay, especially if it were for a cash deal for Hamburg Süd. But with very little debt on their books, any potential buyer will have to pay cash to acquire Hamburg Süd, an analyst comments, since there will be very little appetite for a non-cash or share offer for the highly independent Oetker Group.
- Family Feud: To Sell or Not to Sell? (Port Technology)
- Maersk Tipped to Buy Hamburg Süd (Splash247)
- Hamburg Süd Rumored to be Put Up for Sale (American Shipper)
- Hamburg Sud May Be for Sale, Maersk Line Among Potential Buyers (Supply Chain Drive)
- Hamburg Süd Sale Speculation Mounts (JOC)
- CMA CGM Throws in Bid for Hambürg Sud, Analyst Reports (JOC)