MSC Proposes Strategic Stake Acquisition to Revitalize Hamburg Port

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has proposed acquiring a 49.9% stake in Hamburger Hafen und Logistik Aktiengesellschaft (HHLA), a terminal operator located in HAMBURG, Germany. This strategic move is further cemented by a binding Memorandum of Understanding between MSC and the city of Hamburg, which holds the majority share in HHLA.

In addition to the announcement of the acquisition, MSC has unveiled ambitious plans to transform Hamburg into a pivotal hub leveraging its global network. As the largest carrier in the shipping industry, MSC is committing to ramp up container volume in HAMBURG, beginning in 2025 and reaching a target of 1 million TEUs annually by 2031.

To sweeten the deal, MSC has offered to relocate its German headquarters, which employs approximately 500 people, to Hamburg.

HAMBURG has been grappling with a decline in container volumes, attributed to the conflict in Ukraine and the loss of market share to ports in Rotterdam and Antwerp, with a significant 11.7% drop in 2023 alone.

MSC’s proposal includes a stock exchange offer to purchase all outstanding A shares of HHLA for 16.75 Euros per share, representing a 57% premium over the average trading price of the stock in the past 30 days. If accepted, this would grant MSC nearly half of the company, namely 49.9%, while the city of Hamburg would retain a 50.1% ownership stake. The total value of this offer stands at $1.4 billion, with the estimated overall value of HHLA approximated at $2.8 billion.

This news triggered a nearly 50% surge in HHLA’s share price. HHLA has indicated that their official response will be issued after a thorough review and evaluation by their Supervisory and Executive boards, a process expected to take around four weeks. Furthermore, for the deal to go through,

the acquisition and partnership will also require approval from the Hamburg parliament.

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