Hapag-Lloyd CEO: counter offer for HHLA would not be in our interest

Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said on Thursday that it would not be in the container shipper’s interest to make an offer for HHLA after Swiss-based logistics giant MSC submitted its own bid for a stake in the company.

Speaking to Reuters in an interview, Habben Jansen said that as a result of MSC’s bid, Hapag-Lloyd could reduce its transport to Central Europe through Hamburg to about 70 or 80% of current volumes.

On Wednesday, MSC, the world’s biggest container shipping company, offered to buy almost half of the main operator of Hamburg port in a deal that could be worth nearly 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion).

Under a deal between MSC and the city of Hamburg, MSC will make a cash offer of 16.75 euros ($17.99) per share to acquire all listed class A stock in HHLA.

The city of Hamburg, which owns 69% of HHLA’s A shares and all of its unlisted S-shares, would retain control of Hamburg port with a 50.1% stake via the S-shares.

A Hapag-Lloyd source reacted with consternation to MSC’s offer on Wednesday, saying that effectively paying terminal fees to its biggest competitor under the deal would be an “affront”.

Founded in 1847, Hapag-Lloyd considers Hamburg its home turf. It accounts for more than 50% of container handling at Hamburg port.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Jan Schwartz, Writing by Friederike Heine, Editing by Miranda Murray)

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