Maersk Line closes acquisition of Hamburg Süd


Maersk Line has completed its acquisition of Hamburg Süd after final regulatory approval was granted this week, almost exactly a year after the proposed deal was announced.

On 1 December 2016, Maersk Line announced its intention to acquire Hamburg Süd. The acquisition triggered a regulatory approval process in 23 jurisdictions, which was successfully concluded on Tuesday 28 November with the approval of the acquisition by the Korea Fair Trade Commission.

"With the final approval of the acquisition we have reached an important milestone in our strategy to become an integrated transport and logistics company delivering sustainable growth," says Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk. “These are truly exciting times and we are looking forward to taking the first steps forward as one company.

"Hamburg Süd is an outstanding brand with high quality products. By combining our two businesses, we will reinforce the global positions of both companies and enhance our service offers towards customers.”

Maersk said the acquisition was in line with the company’s growth strategy and “represents a unique opportunity to realise commercial opportunities as well as sizable operational synergies”.

Combined, the two companies will be able to realise operational synergies in the region of US$350-400 million annually as from 2019, the line said. The cost synergies “will primarily be derived from integrating and optimising the networks as well as standardised procurement”.

However, Hamburg Süd’s workforce in Germany is expected to be trimmed as it is integrated into Maersk, although no mass lay-offs are likely, according to Lloyd’s List. In total, the headcount is expected to be downsized by just over 100 staff out of a total of 1,015 permanent positions in Germany, Lloyd’s List reports.

Maersk has said that Hamburg Süd and Aliança will continue as separate brands and continue to serve customers through their local offices. But in the future, Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd “will offer customers better market coverage, attractive direct services and other benefits via a combined global network”.

With the transfer of ownership, Ottmar Gast will retire as Chairman of the Executive Board of Hamburg Süd to become new Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Hamburg Süd. Søren Toft, Chief Operating Officer, A.P. Moller-Maersk, will become Board Member of the Supervisory Board of Hamburg Süd.

The new CEO for Hamburg Süd will be Arnt Vespermann. “Becoming part of the world's number one shipping company will create a lot of opportunities,” said Vespermann.

“We will strengthen Hamburg Süd in the global playing field and grow our market share together. At the same time, Hamburg Süd will continue serving our customers as a separate brand.”

Together, Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd will have a total container capacity of 4.15 million TEU and a 19.3% global fleet capacity share, according to figures this month from Alphaliner. 105 Hamburg Süd vessels will be integrated into the fleet of Maersk Line, wit the combined fleet including a total of 773 vessels (owned and chartered).

Maersk Line is acquiring Hamburg Süd for €3.7 billion on a cash and debt-free basis, financing the acquisition through a syndicated loan facility.