Hamburg Süd Seeks Options after Failed Hapag-Lloyd Merger Talks

Posted by Michelle Howard
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Hamburg Süd's Cap San Nicolas in the South China Sea (Photo courtesy of Hamburg Süd)

Germany's second biggest container shipper Hamburg Süd is seeking options for the business after merger talks with bigger rival Hapag-Lloyd failed last year, Chief Executive Ottmar Gast said on Tuesday.

"We are working on alternatives," Gast told reporters at the results news conference of Hamburg-Sued parent Oetker Group.

Gast, who is part of the four-member management group of Oetker Group's holding company Dr. August Oetker KG, did not provide details, noting only that "size isn't everything".

Hamburg Süd and Hapag-Lloyd ended talks in March 2013 to create the world's fourth-largest shipper after failing to agree on which of the two should have management control.

Shipping groups have struggled with the worst slump on record, with a weak global economy, oversupply of vessels and low freight rates providing impetus for sector consolidation.

Hapag-Lloyd in April this year signed a deal with Compania SudAmericana de Vapores to take over the Chilean's shipping company's container business and create the world's No. 4 player behind Maersk Line, part of Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), Switzerland's Mediterranean Shipping Company and France's CMA CGM.

Hamburg Süd's revenue declined 4 percent to 5.25 billion euros ($7.1479 billion) last year, the Oetker Group said on Tuesday. The company does not disclose profit figures.

($1 = 0.7345 Euros)

(Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Marilyn Gerlach, editing by David Evans)

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