FRANKFURT, March 8 (Reuters) – Hapag-Lloyd co-owner Klaus-Michael Kuehne wants the container shipping group’s prospective merger partner Hamburg-Sud to have equal say in the mooted tie-up, he told a German paper.
“My assumption is that there will be parity in the beginning,” Kuehne, who also controls Swiss logistics group Kuehne & Nagel, told daily Die Welt in an interview published on Friday.
Neither the Albert-Ballin consortium of Hapag-Lloyd investors, led by Kuehne, nor the Oetker family behind Hamburg SÃ¼d should be able to dominate the combined group, he added.
Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg SÃ¼d, Germany’s largest container shipping companies, said in December they were exploring a merger to create a global player better able to survive the sector’s four-year slump.
Kuehne said in the interview the Oetker family would have to commit to plans to take the new company public in the medium term as a precondition for a merger agreement.
“(An initial public offering) won’t happen tomorrow or the day after but it also won’t take five years. I think a time horizon of two to three years is realistic.”
“Later, as part of an IPO, an ideal scenario would be for Oetker to maybe hold 40 percent, for me to hold a blocking minority of 25 percent or a little less in the long-term, and for the rest to be floated,” Kuehne added.
If no agreement with Oetker can be reached Kuehne would push for Hapag-Lloyd to go public on its own.
“But I do not wish for this to happen,” he added. (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Mark Potter)
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