By Yaacov Benmeleh
(Bloomberg) — Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd., a marine transportation company, hired Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit and Barclays Plc to lead an initial public offering in the U.S., according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
The Haifa, Israel-based company, a unit of billionaire Idan Ofer’s Kenon Holdings Ltd., is planning to list shares by the first half of next year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the plans aren’t public.
Zim had earlier planned to raise more than $500 million in a Hong Kong IPO before falling behind on bond payments during oversupply in the shipping industry. The company came to an agreement with the owners of its debt in January 2014, in which creditors took 68 percent of the company and again raised the possibility of a public listing, without specifying the location.
“Zim has been contemplating going public and other financing options since 2007,” Maor Aharoni, a spokesman for the company, said by e-mail. “This strategy has not changed. We have nothing to report at this time and don’t comment on rumors.”
Barclays in Israel and Hanna Yonai, a Merrill Lynch spokeswoman in Israel, declined to comment. Kenon representatives in Singapore, Israel and the U.S. did not immediately reply to calls or e-mails from Bloomberg seeking comment.
Kenon shares gained as much as 6.8 percent before trimming its advance to 4.3 percent, the most in one month, to 54.92 shekels at the close of trading in Tel Aviv.
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