By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS, April 7 (Reuters) – World No. 1 shipping company Maersk Line is set to win EU antitrust approval for its acquisition of Hamburg Sud after agreeing to pull the German company out from some trade routes, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Maersk, part of A.P. Moller-Maersk, announced the bid last December, part of a wave of mergers in an industry struggling with a glut of ships and slowing global trade which has forced at least one shipping line out of business.
The concessions, which Maersk submitted on March 20, were made to address the European Commission’s concerns about the competitive impact of the deal, the source said, without saying which routes were affected.
The EU competition enforcer, scheduled to rule on the deal by April 10, declined to comment. Maersk spokesman Michael Storgaard said the company expects a decision early next week.
Maersk said on Friday it would divest its Mercosul Line in Brazil to appease the Brazilian competition authority CADE.
The proposed acquisition will strengthen the Danish company’s presence in global trade, in particular in Latin America where Hamburg Sud has been long established.
World No. 7 Hamburg Sud is part of the Oetker Group and owns 130 container vessels, primarily used in trade between the northern and southern hemispheres, versus Maersk’s fleet of more than 600 ships.
Maersk, which aims to close the deal by year end, could see combined synergies in both liner and terminal operations of between $550 and $660 million if the acquisition goes through without too many concessions, analysts at Danske Bank say. (Additional reporting by Teis Jensen in Copenhagen; Editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek and David Holmes)
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