US regulator approves Cosco's acquisition of OOIL


Hong Kong-listed Cosco Shipping Holdings has been given the green light by US competition authorities to proceed with its acquisition of Orient Overseas (International) Ltd, the parent company of leading container line, OOCL.

“The joint offerors are pleased to announce that with respect to antitrust review in the US under the US Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, and the regulations thereunder, the applicable waiting periods in connection with the offer have expired. Accordingly, the pre-condition has been fulfilled,” the group said in a statement.

Aside from the US regulators, the group has obtained approval for the deal from China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council and its shareholders during an extraordinary general meeting held earlier in October.

CSH now has to obtain approval from China’s antitrust authorities, the National Development and Reform Commission and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

It will also have to await a decision from the European Commission to allow the transaction to proceed.

“The joint offerors and OOIL will issue a further announcement as soon as practicable after the pre-conditions have been satisfied or waived,” said CSH.

CSH vice chairman Huang Xiaowen said at a press conference in September that he expected the acquisition to be completed by the end of the year.

In September, Shanghai International Port Group agreed to provide a guarantee for loans of up to HK$5.2bn ($665.6m), which will be used to meet the fund demand for acquiring a stake in Orient Overseas International Ltd.

Shanghai Port Group (BVI) Development, the lendee, is registered in the British Virgin Islands and is the entity that SIPG is using to buy a 9.9% equity stake in OOIL, the Shanghai-listed port operator said.

Both CSH and SIPG proposed to take stakes in OOIL.