No U.S. Anti-Trust Violations Found in Proposed COSCO-OOIL Merger

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US government regulators have found no antitrust violations with the proposed merger between liner carriers COSCO Shipping and Orient Overseas (International) Ltd., according to a joint statement released on Monday by the two companies.
Source: www.americanshipper.com

U.S. government regulators have found no antitrust violations with the proposed merger between liner carriers COSCO Shipping and Orient Overseas (International) Ltd., according to a joint statement released on Monday by the two companies.

The applicable period for U.S. antitrust regulators to dispute or raise concerns with the proposed merger offer have expired, meaning that this precondition of the merger agreement “has been fulfilled,” the carriers said.

With approval reportedly already coming from China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission in early September, the last remaining major antitrust regulator to approve the deal would be the European Union, which has yet to announce its assessment.

COSCO Shipping and OOIL said they will “continue to work towards satisfaction” of other preconditions and added that “further announcement(s) in relation to the latest status of the offer will be made in due course.”

As reported early last week, COSCO Shipping’s shareholders approved the $6.3 billion offer to acquire OOIL, the Hong Kong-based parent of ocean carrier Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL).

Under the terms of the deal, which was announced July 9, COSCO Shipping will own 90.1 percent of OOIL, while Shanghai International Port Group will hold the remaining 9.9 percent. COSCO and SIPG are paying $78.67 Hong Kong ($10.07 USD) per share in cash for all outstanding OOIL stock.

With OOCL’s fleet, COSCO Shipping Lines, a subsidiary of COSCO Shipping Holdings, would control a containership fleet of more than 400 vessels with capacity of over 2.9 million TEUs including orderbook, the companies said. According to ocean carrier schedule and capacity database BlueWater Reporting, COSCO and OOCL are currently the fourth and seventh largest container carriers worldwide, respectively, in terms of operating fleet capacity.

COSCO Shipping has said that it hopes to close the deal by the end of the year.