CSAV and Hapag-Lloyd Agree to Merger Deal

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Image: Hapag Lloyd

By Matt Craze and Eduardo Thomson

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) — Cia. Sud Americana de Vapores SA, controlled by Chile’s billionaire Luksic family, signed an agreement with Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG to combine operations and form the world’s fourth largest container shipping company.

Under terms of a non-binding memorandum of understanding, CSAV will acquire a 30 percent shareholding in the combined company, the Valparaiso, Chile-based company said in a statement to Chile’s securities regulator today. CSAV will join German billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuhne and the City of Hamburg in a shareholder pact that will control a total of 75.5 percent.

The companies, which both date back to the 19th century, are struggling to overcome a prolonged slump in the container shipping market and compete with larger rival A.P. Moeller- Maersk A/S. The Luksics, Chile’s wealthiest family, took a bet on the industry in 2011 when it began building a stake CSAV. The tie-up will create savings of 300 million euros ($406 million), CSAV said today.

The companies agreed to undertake two capital increases for a combined 740 million euros. Hapag-Lloyd may hold an initial public offering as part of the second increase, CSAV said.

Tour operator TUI AG, which has repeatedly said it wants to divest its 22 percent stake in Hapag-Lloyd, is considering the public listing of a small amount of shares the company as a first step to exit, Chief Financial Officer Horst Baier said in a Dec. 18 interview.

Hapag-Lloyd shareholders have delayed an IPO as they await improved market conditions, TUI Chief Executive Officer Friedrich Joussen said Sept. 27.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.