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Maersk set to get even bigger

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From CPH Post:

Container company Maersk Sealand is offering DKK 17 billion for Dutch P&O Nedlloyd. The merger would create the largest container line in history

Shipping giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk offers DKK 17 billion in cash to buy Dutch rival P&O Nedlloyd, in a move that would make it history's biggest container line.

Maersk, which owns the world's largest container shipping line, Maersk Sealand, said the industry needed to consolidate and that it needed more ships to continue to grow.

"There are two ways to grow: organically or via acquisitions," A.P. Moeller-Maersk CEO Jess Soederberg told Reuters. "With the current lack of ship capacity we would not be able to grow organically within the next three to four years."

Maersk Sealand already boasts the title of the world's largest container line, with more than 300 vessels and a total capacity of 750,000 20-feet containers. P.O. Nedlloyd has 156 vessels and a container capacity of 428,000.

A merger would result in the biggest container shipping company in history, more than double the size of its main contender, Mediterranean Shipping Co.

The Dutch parent company Royal P&O Nedlloyd is among the world's four largest container companies. It's board of directors said they recommended Maersk Sealand's offer, which will be officially placed in June, after a due diligence report has been issued on the Dutch company.

A takeover would also be dependent on at least 70 percent of shareholders in P&O Nedlloyd accepting the offer, as well as on the approval of competition authorities.

"This proposed offer represents a significant premium to our share price. I sincerely believe this proposal is in the best interest of both our shareholders and our employees," P&O Nedlloyd Chairman Andrew Land said in a statement.

P&O Nedlloyd said the takeover would lead to 1,500 job cuts.
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Few shipping mergers seen after Maersk-P&O Nedloyd
By Stefano Ambrogi

LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - A proposed merger between two of the world's largest container shipping lines could spark a new round of consolidation within the booming industry, but analysts said immediate pickings were slim.

Danish shipping giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk's <MAERSKb.CO.> 2.3 billion euro ($3 billion) cash bid for Dutch rival P&O Nedloyd's container business is the industry's biggest to date.

The deal, if it were to go through, would give A.P. Moeller 17-18 percent of the world's container market, and make the firm more than twice as big as its nearest rival in terms of fleet size and trading capacity.

Container shipping, which carries finished goods, from electronic products through to clothes and toys, has been booming on the back of expanding international trade, a global economic recovery and explosive Chinese growth, analysts say.

"In terms of fresh consolidation there really aren't many candidates that are publicly quoted and potentially available," said Mark Page, research director of UK-based Drewry Shipping Consultants.

Many firms who specialise in the rapidly expanding container shipping market are privately held or partially state-owned, he said.

"So the number of candidates are few, and the number of very sizeable candidates even fewer, not to mention the number of available candidates who actually want to be sold," Page said.

The industry saw its last major merger in 1999 when Maersk, already the world's biggest player, bought U.S. container carrier Sea-Land.

"Nedloyd merged (with P&O) prior to that; whether that was the catalyst, I don't know, but that did spark Neptune Orient Lines taking over APL and Maersk buying Sea-Land so there was some kind of domino effect.

"Since then the industry has been growing at a minimum of 10 percent per annum, and everybody is now 70-80 percent bigger than when that deal took place," Page said.

Many players might simply prefer to capitalise on the current boom amid double-digit growth, analysts said. Shareholders, too, might also be against a sale because of current earnings, they said.

Container ship-broking specialists Howe Robinson forecasts growth in trade of between 10 and 12 percent this year and next.

Pressuring that will be the growth in the world fleet, which Howe Robinson projects at between 11 percent this year and 15 percent in 2006.

"On a charter basis, we believe that growth can be absorbed unless there is a deterioration in the world economy -- and that is the million-dollar question," said Nicholas Hubbard, director of Howe Robinson.

Analysts say that further down the size scale smaller players could conceivably merge.

But they said more were likely to either grow organically by buying more and bigger vessels -- a trend in the industry -- or review alliance structures with other carriers.

"So it may not be that the industry, carriers, react immediately to what's happened with Maersk, and stay around for longer than they did last time," Page said.
Takeover target had looked at CP Ships
12 May 2005
Lloyd's List

CP SHIPS was one of several takeover candidates that P&O Nedlloyd considered before receiving an unsolicited approach from A P MØller-Maersk, writes Janet Porter.

P&O Nedlloyd looked at CP Ships “on a number of occasions”, chief executive Philip Green revealed yesterday. “But it was not right for us,” he told Lloyd’s List, with the value considered too high.

Shortly before Mr Green joined P&O Nedlloyd at the start of last year the company had been in merger talks with CP Ships. However, CP Ships broke off the negotiations, apparently unconvinced about P&O Nedlloyd’s prospects, and has since become a potential takeover target itself after a difficult 12 months that included a restatement of its profits.

However, in a conference call with the investment community, chief executive Ray Miles sought to rebut rumours that China Shipping had made an approach.

To a question about the sudden spate of merger and takeover activity, Mr Miles said he had “no indication” that China Shipping was on the acquisition trail.

Nevertheless, he expected more rationalisation in a container shipping industry that was still fragmented.

“We have played our role in that over the years,” he added, with the financial muscle to continue growing the company through acquisition. “We are looking at opportunities all the time.” But at this point in the cycle, companies for sale “have higher expectations of their value”.

Rumours persist that NOL had also been talking to P&O Nedlloyd about a merger. However, Mr Green said yesterday there had been no merger discussions with NOL since last spring.
I've seen a lot of articles from trade publications and newswires. Here's another interesting one :

Rocky road ahead for newly wed container line giants
The union of AP MØller-Maersk and P&O Nedlloyd could be fraught unless conciliatory efforts are made, writes Janet Porter
12 May 2005
Lloyd's List

TOP management at both AP MØller-Maersk and P&O Nedlloyd face months of complex and detailed negotiations before the merger of two of the world’s largest container lines can be completed.

But the real work starts after that, as both sides know from first-hand and often bitter experience, and it will take years to finish.

When P&O Containers and Nedlloyd Lines announced in late 1996 that they planned to join forces and create P&O Nedlloyd, it was seen as a natural and easy fit.

The Dutch and the British had close social and cultural links, there were no language barriers, and the two countries were near enough for the staff to keep in regular contact with each other.

Unlike the later takeover of US carrier APL by Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines, which was always going to be a far tougher challenge to integrate, the new P&O Nedlloyd was seen to be following a well-trodden path of successful Anglo/Dutch commercial relationships.

The truth turned out to be very different, with rivalry at the top filtering down throughout the company as the two nationalities vied for the upper hand. Even now, more than eight years later, those internal tensions are said to persist.

When AP MØller acquired US line Sea-Land a few years later, that was expected to be a somewhat easier task since it was a takeover rather than a merger. Furthermore, the two lines were already in a close knit alliance and the acquisition, when it was finally announced, came as no real surprise.

But it also meant some very tough decisions, with the Danish line recognising at an early stage that trying to integrate two IT systems could never work. Instead, it dumped Sea-Land’s highly regarded network. Meanwhile large numbers of personnel defected as the Danish stamp was put on newly-formed Maersk Sealand.

A well-publicised fight by British employees of the former Sea-Land to protect their pensions highlighted the pitfalls of mergers.

Neither were they the only challenges that AP MØller faced. Several years of legal dispute followed with CSX Corp, the company that sold Sea-Land, over the exact price. That dispute was only resolved relatively recently.

Even much smaller takeovers are fraught with difficulty, as CP Ships has found to its cost.

That line had based its strategy on growth through acquisition, buying under-performing lines such as Lykes and Cast, and gaining back office synergies and savings, while maintaining the separate brands.

But that approach backfired last year when the company admitted it had over-stated its profits, with the mistake blamed partly on the failure to install a common IT system.

Just a few weeks ago CP Ships announced a dramatic U-turn when it said it was abandoning the multi-brand policy in favour of a single corporate identity.

AP MØller-Maersk has followed three different approaches on previous takeovers. For example, when it bought the much smaller EAC-Ben, the line was absorbed into its much larger neighbour.

But Safmarine, with its strong brand and customer loyalty in the Africa trades, was allowed to keep its name and a separate head office.

Sea-Land was another brand that the Danish company wanted to keep because of its powerful position in the US, albeit in a slightly different format. The name was linked to Maersk to create the Maersk Sealand brand, even while much of the business was completely integrated.

Before these issues can be addressed in any detail by AP MØller-Maersk and P&O Nedlloyd, due diligence has to be completed, a formal offer submitted, regulatory clearance obtained, and other formalities processed.

P&O Nedlloyd chief executive Philip Green fully supports the fact that AP MØller-Maersk must choose just one IT system.

“And I hope it will be ours,” he told Lloyd’s List.

He will join AP MØller-Maersk partners Jess SØderberg and Knud Stubkjaer on an executive committee to oversee the integration process, and has agreed to stay on for six months after the deal is concluded to help with the first stage.

“I will do whatever it takes to make this work,” he promised.

In a conference call yesterday, Mr Stubkjaer said lessons had been learned from the Sea-Land takeover, with both sides stressing the importance of communication to employees and customers during the lengthy exercise.

Job losses are expected to be low, Mr Stubkjaer stressed, totalling around 1,500 positions or some 5% of the combined workforce over the next three years, mostly achieved through natural wastage.

And the goal, said Mr Green, was to ensure “the right man or woman for the job”.

He believes that AP MØller-Maersk has changed, and that “you no longer need a Danish passport” for a top job.

The two companies are no strangers to each other, with the former P&O Containers and Maersk Line having worked closely together in an alliance in the early 1990s.

Those involved at the time said it worked well at the operational level, but that there were differences at the top about routes and services, and some personality clashes.

When they split up, two major consortia were formed with P&O Containers joining one and Nedlloyd another.

Their subsequent merger created a massive shake-up throughout the industry and a slump in freight rates as those alliances and their competitors fought for market share.

This time round, Mr Stubkjaer says he does not expect there to be any market disruption, because of the fundamental supply and demand situation.

Others are not so confident, remembering how easy it is to lose customer accounts when management attention is focused on internal rather than external affairs.
Maersk deal sparks talk of consolidation
Many in the shipping industry hope for further deals, but few obvious targets are available, writes Robert Wright
16 May 2005
Financial Times

Shipping industrymanagers frequently express a mixture of fear and admiration for Maersk-Sealand, the secretive Danish container shipping line. With a cargo capacity 34 per cent greater than its nearest rival's, the line has long had a powerful edge, and is set to become stronger.

On Tuesday, AP Moller-Maersk, Maersk-Sealand's parent, confirmed it planned to buy Anglo-Dutch P&O Nedlloyd. BRS-Alphaliner, a French shipbroker, ranks P&O Nedlloyd world number three by capacity.

The deal will give Maersk more than twice the cargo capacity of its nearest rival and more than three times the space of the number three. Many in the industry now hope for a wave of mergers to lift efficiency and create stronger competition for the new giant.

After three years of unprecedented growth in east Asia, many lines now have considerable resources for purchases. Weakening world demand, meanwhile, might encourage them to act before a market downturn.

Who might buy whom has become a subject of frenzied speculation. At least some restructuring is inevitable because P&O Nedlloyd is nearly certain to leave the Grand Alliance, a consortium of lines that share capacity and run some services jointly.

"This is still a relatively fragmented industry," says Ray Miles, chief executive of Toronto-listed, London-based CP Ships, who is also president of the Box Club of leading container line chiefs.

"I have always been surprised there has not been more consolidation through mergers and acquisitions."

Many consolidation theories mention Neptune Orient Lines, controlled by Singapore's Temasek state investment agency. In 1997 it made one of container shipping's most audacious deals when it bought larger, US-based APL and adopted its brand.

David Lim, chief executive, has made clear his interest in a deal. There are persistent rumours that the line, the 10th largest container carrier by capacity, might make a counter-bid to Maersk's Euros 2.3bn (Dollars 2.9bn) offer for P&O Nedlloyd.

However, Mr Lim has said he would prefer to buy a line that complements APL's strengths. P&O Nedlloyd is strong in different routes.

Marseille-based CMA-CGM, controlled by the Saade family, is fifth biggest by capacity but new ship deliveries will soon take it past Taiwan's Evergreen.

Jacques Saade, founder and chairman, says all the large lines are negotiating with each other. "I can't tell you what we are negotiating but I'm sure others have also been studying the possibilities of mergers or buying smaller companies," he says.

China Shipping Container Lines, number eight in world capacity and listed in Hong Kong, is also thought to be considering purchases.

Among large lines, John Fossey, container shipping analyst at London-based Drewry Shipping Consultants, excludes only Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Corporation, world number two, from the current speculation. It has long preferred to grow organically.

Many target companies, controlled by wealthy families or state investment companies, have traditionally been reluctant sellers, says Mark McVicar, transport analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. Other listed companies are also sometimes unavailable.

An unusually high 46 per cent of shares in South Korea's Hyundai Merchant Marine, which is recovering from a financial crisis, are in non-Korean hands.

However, Jae-Hee Shin, senior vice-president, says Hong Kong's Hutchison Group, which holds 10 per cent, is expected to prevent any takeover.

Mr Miles' CP Ships, world number 17, which is recovering after restating its accounts last year, is one of the few generally-accepted possible targets. Mr Miles declines to comment on rumours. Yet CP Ships might be mentioned partly because it is a rare publicly-listed company in which chunks of shares can change hands.

Mr McVicar says the limited previous consolidation has nearly always involved listed companies. Their scarcity may limit the looming shake-out.

"Only those companies that have had real shareholders - ones that worry about return on capital and dividends - have ever cared enough to do anything about rationalising the industry," Mr McVicar says.
Buyout could trigger wholesale shake-up of Australian box trades
16 May 2005
Lloyd's List

Industry observers have warned of a wholesale reshuffle across the Australian box trades if P&O Nedlloyd is acquired by AP MØller-Maersk, writes Lloyd’s List DCN in Australia .

The reason is that P&O Nedlloyd operates in more trade lanes than any other carrier from Australia, — and all of them in consortia.

If AP MØller’s container arm was to bring its solo strategy to bear in the Australian trades, then expiring consortia would seek new members to compete with unified Maersk Sealand/P&O Nedlloyd services.

It is true that the exceptions to Maersk Sealand’s solo operations are all in the north-south trades, and the Danish line has said previously that the long, thin nature of the Australian trades means it has to work in rare partnership here.

But just completion of the merger deal could see tensions similar to those which followed the P&O Nedlloyd merger in 1996, with partners alarmed as P&O Nedlloyd maintained a foot in two consortia camps on the southeast Asia trades — with far more possibility of conflict this time around.

A senior Australian executive said that all partners “will be checking their consortium agreements” to see whether terms are fixed, include takeover clauses, or are open-ended.

P&O Nedlloyd operates to Europe and the US in the ANZ Alliance, where it also competes with Maersk-Sealand’s fortnightly service to the US east coast.

To the US west coast and the Pacific islands, the two lines already cooperate in the Vessel Sharing Agreement with CP Ships, Hamburg Sud, and Fesco.

P&O Swire operates in three loops to east and north Asia with consortium partners NYK, MOL, K Line, and slot partner Cosco, competing against Maersk Sealand in one long rotation with MSC to the same markets.

P&O Nedlloyd also services southeast Asia in the AAX consortium with ANL, APL, Djakarta Lloyd, and NYK where, like Europe, Maersk Sealand has no direct services from Australia.

P&O Nedlloyd also serves Singapore on wayport calls, and the Middle East by relay with NYK.

The ANZ Alliance could be a flashpoint for different reasons, with P&O Nedlloyd already keen to have more space to the US east coast and Europe legs, and the possibility of absorbing one of Maersk Sealand’s few sub-weekly services as well.

But P&O Nedlloyd also owns seven of the 10 4,100 teu ships in the Eastabout leg, the largest single service from Australia, and shared with CP Ships, Hamburg Sud, Hapag Lloyd, CMA-CGM and Marfret.

A notice to customers from P&O Nedlloyd this morning said, “all commercial and operation agreements that we have with our customers will be honoured”.

But it also noted that “the combining of the businesses, networks, operational and logistics capabilities of P&O Nedlloyd and Maersk will create a platform for service delivery to our customers that will be, by any measure, unsurpassed”.

In previous takeovers and consortia reshuffles, rates have fallen as carriers fought for market to take into new alliances with them.

P&O Ports and Patrick will also be looking at the impact of a new giant and possible rebundling of services.

P&O Nedlloyd chief executive Philip Green, expected to stay for a six-month handover and to pick up a $3m salary for just over a year’s work, is a newcomer to liner shipping and has said he is surprised at the lack of consolidation in the industry.

He told Lloyd’s List DCN last September: “Yes, we should be consolidating. We are a consolidated company, and the market leader Maersk Sealand, is a consolidated company. There is fragmentation in an industry, which clearly has economies of scale. But, there are not that many merger partners available — many shipping lines are either state owned or privately owned.”

It appears that Mr Green has just answered his own question.

Merger overshadows Fonterra

A Maersk Sealand/P&O Nedlloyd merger could drastically change Fonterra’s logistics arrangements as it throws up a new opportunity for the Mediterranean Shipping Co, New Zealand sources suggest, reports Lloyd’s List DCN .

Fonterra has deliberately reduced its main carriers to P&O Nedlloyd and Maersk in order to increase efficiencies in the face of major expansion of its dairy exports.

The co-operative is P&O Nedlloyd’s biggest customer globally.

New Zealand analysts are forecasting that a merger would either reinforce the partnership the lines already had with Fonterra, or provide an opportunity for a third player, MSC, which has expanded its presence in the country in the past two years.

This comes as P&O Nedlloyd decides whether to focus its Asian and European services at Auckland or Tauranga.

Fonterra began railing more than 800,000 tonnes of dairy from its new Hamilton dry store hub to Hamilton and Auckland, at the end of March.

If the deal goes to Tauranga, Ports of Auckland could lose its premier status, and 20% of its volume.

Analysts are picking Tauranga to get the large majority of the contract.

MSC has signalled it wants to bring 4,100 teu ships to New Zealand within the next three to five years.
Former Maersk executives land jobs with other box players
Paul Berrill
27 May 2005

A second Danish takeover wave is hitting the liner sector in the wake of AP Moller-Maersk's bid for P&O Nedlloyd - but this one comprises former senior Maersk managers taking charge of other container companies.

Former Maersk, American President Line (APL) and European Liner Affairs Association (ELAA) executive Ken Bloch Soerensen will be the new president and chief executive of United Arab Shipping Co (UASC).

And former senior Maersk executive Michael Hassing is to join fast-growing Samskip of Iceland as joint chief executive officer and a major shareholder. Both will take up their new appointments from the beginning of July.

Soerensen joins UASC as it embarks on its most ambitious expansion phase, ordering eight 6,800-teu newbuildings to be delivered in 2008.

Last year, the company, which is owned by six Middle East Gulf states, passed the one-million-teu volume mark for the first time as it made a net profit of $135m on revenues of $982m. After two years in charge of Brussels-based liner lobbying organization ELAA, Soerensen says he did not want to get typecast as a political lobbyist and feels he has set up a platform for the industry to move on from the conference system.

"I am an industry person and want to get back into business," he said.

Soerensen, who has 23 years of liner-industry experience, will be the first non-Arab head of Kuwait-based UASC, which is effectively the state carrier for owners Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Hassing will take control of Samskip's growing container shipping and forwarding businesses, allowing the group's Rotterdam-based chief executive, Asbjorn Gislason, to transfer back to Reykjavik to form a new trio of top management with chairman Olafur Olafsson.

Gislason, who will also become an equal shareholder, will oversee Samskip's domestic operations and reefer-logistics activities, which include parts of recently acquired Dutch Kloosterboer Group and the reefer operation of Silver Sea.

Hassing joined Maersk in 1979 and has held positions in Singapore, Hong Kong, Holland, Japan, the UK and Denmark. His most recent appointment was as managing director of the group's UK subsidiary, The Maersk Company.

Olafsson says Hassing will play a crucial role in making Samskip a global company.

Samskip, which has an established shortsea-shipping operation linking North Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea, acquired Geest North Sea Line in April 2005 to become Europe's leading shortsea/intermodal container operator.

Olafsson said: "Samskip intends to expand this sector of its business further, both through organic growth and by acquisition."

The company also plans to expand reefer-forwarding activities, especially in the trades between Asia and Europe.

Samskip appointed former AP Moller-Maersk partner Flemming Jacobs to its board in March.
DANISH PRESS: AP Moller-Maersk To Grow China Terminal Ops
31 May 2005

COPENHAGEN (Dow Jones)--The head of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S (MAERSK-B.KO) unit APM Terminals, Kim Fejfer, said the company intends to build up its terminal operations in China, particularly in Shanghai, Borsen reported Tuesday.

Maersk's proposed takeover of Royal P&O Nedlloyd NV (00998.AE) would position the Danish company as the lead choice to operate Shanghai's new port, the paper says. APM Terminals already operates one terminal at the port.

Fejfer declined to comment specifically on the company's plans, but said: "We will continue to expand and grow in China. If Shanghai continues at the same growth tempo, I expect that Shanghai will in the next five to 10 years become the world's largest container port."

Newspaper Web site:
Lloyd's List
June 16, 2005
Maersk merger puts terminal conditions up for re-diagnosis
Merging Maersk Sealand with P&O Nedlloyd will have repercussions for ports around the world, none more so than those in the UK, where the creation of a new container shipping giant has enormous implications for terminal operators
Janet Porter

P&O Nedlloyd's main port of call in Britain at the present time is Southampton, whereas Maersk Sealand's UK hub is Felixstowe.

The Danish line has been after a dedicated terminal in the UK for some time, a move opposed by Hong Kong ports giant Hutchison, which owns Felixstowe.

That resistance had persuaded Maersk Sealand to look elsewhere, including Southampton, where the company had made approaches to Associated British Ports about a facility at Dibden Bay before the proposed development was turned down. Since then, Hutchison is thought to have quietly agreed that Maersk Sealand could have its own exclusive space in Felixstowe, assuming plans to convert the Landguard terminal into new deepwater container berths are approved.

The need for its own UK facility will be even more pressing once P&O Nedlloyd is acquired, but the possible ramifications are far more complicated than a straightforward switch of the Anglo-Dutch line to Felixstowe.

In fact, other lines say that Felixstowe could not cope with the arrival of a line the size of P&O Nedlloyd right now. That means the expanded Maersk Sealand would probably make a return to Southampton for some of its services, at least in the short-term.

P&O Nedlloyd belongs to the Grand Alliance, which will be reviewing ports of call around the world if and when the largest member of the consortium resigns.

The loss of more than 40 ships and accompanying cargo from the Grand Alliance in the event that P&O Nedlloyd move may affect contract terms that the consortium has with terminal operators, which will have to be renegotiated.

In the UK, as in many other places, decisions regarding ports of call are tinged with all sorts of considerations other than straightforward service issues.

Southampton Container Terminals is jointly owned by ABP and P&O Ports, hence P&O Nedlloyd's close affiliation.

The takeover also places a questionmark over P&O Ports' plans for a brand-new container terminal in the Thames estuary.

The London Gateway planning application has been waiting for a government decision for more than a year, with P&O Ports recently agreeing to pay for additional infrastructure in exchange for approval of the £700m ($ 1,272m) scheme.

However, all that was before AP Moller-Maersk made its move on P&O Nedlloyd last month. P&O Ports may well have assumed that P&O Nedlloyd and its alliance partners would be a prime customers for London Gateway, but not any more.

Indeed, there are even whispers in the ports industry that P&O could be losing interest in the whole project because of the length of planning process involved.

Others rubbish such talk. "It's the jewel in P&O Ports' crown," said one liner executive. "It's an exciting project on a brownfield site."

Also awaiting consent is an expansion plan from Felixstowe that would bring the port's total capacity to an annual 5.2m teu.

Hutchison has another project in the drawing board, a £300m scheme to develop a 250 acre plot of land at Bathside Bay in Harwich into a 1.7m teu a year deepsea container terminal.

Shipping lines are clamouring for at least one of these developments to be up and running as soon as possible amid dire warnings that the UK is running dangerously short of spare port capacity.

But one voice is stirring up controversy by calling for a temporary halt to the planning process until the UK has developed a national ports strategy.

PD Ports, which owns Teesport in northeast England, has drawn up its own plans for a deepsea container terminal and wants this to be considered as well before any final decisions on UK port expansion are taken.

Martyn Pellew, PD Ports' development director, has been lobbying as many government departments as possible in support of a temporary delay while UK port requirements are looked at more strategically.

The government has said it may consider a national ports strategy after decisions have been taken on the three projects now at the planning stage, but that would not make sense, says Mr Pellew.

"If the government wants to take a wider perspective, now is the time - otherwise the opportunity will be lost for 10 to 15 years," he warns.

That is because the three projects already under consideration would provide sufficient capacity in the medium-term, so eliminating the commercial viability of alternatives in other parts of the country for at least another decade.

PD Ports entered the debate at a late stage after only recently being floated on the stock exchange, but management attention is now fully concentrated on its own plans for a northern gateway. It argues that this proposal fits with the government's aim of closing the economic gap between the north and south of the country.

Thousands of new jobs would be created in a particularly deprived area, while there would also be environmental benefits, as more than half the UK's deepsea container cargo is destined for areas in the north.

However, the company's call for a national approach to port planning rather than a piecemeal system has stirred up a heated debate.

Nicholas Finney, one of the leading figures in the long campaign in the 1980s to abolish the National Dock Labour Scheme, said in a letter to Lloyd's List that there was "absolutely no merit in PD Ports' proposal for a delay", and that "apart from being blatantly self-serving, it actually seeks to undermine the UK's ability to urgently respond to global maritime demand for new deepsea container capacity."

Bristol Port Co, which has just published its own plans for a deepsea container hub in the Severn estuary with annual throughput of 1.5m teu, also opposes government intervention and wants developments to be driven by commercial considerations.

Elsewhere, Mersey Docks and Harbour Co, poised to become part of Peel Ports, is studying the viability a new deepsea container terminal in Liverpool for post-panamax ships. And Peel Ports is working on the feasibility of a transhipment hub at Hunterston in Scotland.

So, eventually, the UK should be well-served by a sufficient number of container ports, even if some are not quite where the shipping lines would most like them for the least ship deviation.

But none will solve the capacity shortages of the next few years, or help the industry cope with what looks like a major upheaval ahead.

P&O Nedlloyd's takeover will unleash a scramble among port operators for customers as the many lines affected by the acquisition review their options. However, until the deal goes through, all anyone can do is sit and wait.
AP Moeller-Maersk buys additional 5 pct of P&O Nedlloyd on open market
17 June 2005

AMSTERDAM (AFX) - AP Moeller-Maersk A/S said it has bought a 5 pct stake in Royal P&O Nedlloyd NV from investors on the open market.

The Danish company said earlier this week that it is buying an 8.2 pct stake in P&O Nedlloyd from fund manager Fidelity.

With the additional shares held by the company and today's announcement, its stake now exceeds 14 pct.

Maersk said it bought the shares at a price discounted to its 57 eur per share offer for all of P&O Nedlloyd, as payment occurs prior to completion of its public offer.
Maersk raises stake in P&O Nedlloyd to 19.1 pct

COPENHAGEN, June 21 (Reuters) - Danish shipping and oil giant A.P. Moeller-Maersk <MAERSKb.CO> has agreed to buy a 4.8 percent stake in Dutch rival P&O Nedlloyd as part of an ongoing takeover offer, Maersk said on Tuesday.

Last week, Maersk launched a 2.3 billion euros ($2.8 billion) takeover offer for P&O Nedlloyd to cement its position as the world's number one container shipper.

Maersk said it would hold about 19.1 percent of the shares in P&O Nedlloyd after the latest purchase.
EU regulators delay decision on Maersk-P&O Nedlloyd merger to July 29
8 July 2005

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) - The European Union head office delayed a decision on AP Moeller-Maersk's EUR2.3 billion (US$2.74 billion) takeover of Royal P&O Nedlloyd NV to July 29.

EU regulators originally planned to have a decision ready July 14, but Maersk offered last-minute concessions to avoid a potential block of the deal, officials said Friday.

The European Commission declined to describe the concessions, but in the majority of large takeovers, companies offer to divest overlapping parts of their businesses. In these cases, the Commission uses a two-week extension to ask the companies' rivals whether the proposed concessions will help maintain competition.

EU regulators think the combined company's routes between Northern Europe and South Africa don't have enough competition. Analysts said the Danish shipping giant could be offering up shipping lines or selling port capacity.

The proposed merger, if approved, between Maersk's shipping division and P&O Nedlloyd will produce the world's largest container shipping line.

AP Moeller-Maersk A/S launched its merger offer in May. It already owns Maersk-Sealand, the world's largest shipping company, which has more than 300 container vessels and 750,000 containers.

P&O Nedlloyd, the world's fourth-largest provider of container shipping services by fleet capacity, operates a fleet of 156 container ships and 428,000 containers.

Danish and Dutch media said 1,500 jobs -- or 5 percent of the work force in the merged company -- will disappear from the combination.

Oversight of the case at the EU head office has shifted hands three times due to possible conflicts of interest.

EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes abstained from the review because she had previously been a P&O Nedlloyd board member. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso withdrew from the case when his impartiality was questioned over his vacation last summer with Greek shipping magnate Spiro Latsis.

The case is now being overseen by EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy.
Brussels hints at imposing conditions on P&O Nedlloyd takeover.
11 July 2005
Lloyd's List

DANISH giant AP MØller-Maersk may have to reduce its presence on certain trade lanes before the European Commission will allow it to buy P&O Nedlloyd, writes Janet Porter.

Brussels has extended its investigation of the €2.3bn ($3bn) acquisition by 10 days in order to give the parties involved time to make certain commitments, said spokeswoman Linda Cain.

However, AP MØller-Maersk said it was co-operating with the commission and did not expect any delay in the overall takeover timetable.

While not saying what the commitments expected of AP MØller-Maersk or P&O Nedlloyd might be, the commission acknowledged that divestment could be one of the requirements demanded by antitrust regulators in such a situation.

Brussels is at present ensuring that the deal passes certain market tests and will insist on remedies if necessary.

Those remedies are being addressed, AP MØller-Maersk told Lloyd’s List.

Industry attention has been focused on the Europe-South Africa route, where ownership of Maersk Sealand, Safmarine and P&O Nedlloyd would give the company a very large market share with Mediterranean Shipping Co the only other main competitor on that route.

South Africa’s Competition Commission is also investigating the deal that was notified on May 24, but has not set a specific timetable for issuing a decision.

Maersk Sealand, Safmarine and P&O Nedlloyd are members of the Southern Africa Europe Container Service, along with the very much smaller Deutsche Afrika Linie.

Overall, the combined market share of the three biggest Saecs members on the Europe-South Africa route is thought to well exceed the 35% limit that Brussels would probably want. That has led to speculation that Saecs could be restructured, with DAL taking a larger share of the business.

Both South African shippers and the specialist reefership operators that serve the country are believed to have concerns about the potential concentra- tion of ownership in the container sector.

Other north-south trades such as the Europe-Australasia and Europe-South America routes are also expected to be scrutinised closely.

The commission had originally said it would decide by July 14 whether to allow the deal to go through or enter into a more in-depth inquiry.

However, the 10-day extension is still part of the first phase of the review, with the authorities prepared to allow a little more time to draw up the appropriate remedies.

AP MØller-Maersk’s share purchase offer is at present due to expire on August 4, and that date should still be met, the company said. It already controls around 45% of the equity either directly or indirectly.
Maersk tycoon, age 96, going strong -aide

COPENHAGEN, April 22 (Reuters) - Danish shipping magnate Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, who will turn 97 this July, is in good health and shows up to work daily at the headquarters of A.P. Moller-Maersk <MAERSKb.CO>, his secretary said.

Moller did not attend Queen Margrethe's 70th birthday bash last week, which raised some questions about his health.

"Mr Moller is sitting in his office now and he turns up every day," his personal assistant Lars Erik Brenoe told Reuters on Thursday. "He is in good health."

Despite his advanced age, Moller walks up the stairs to his sixth-floor office rather than taking the lift and a few weeks ago was on a business trip to the United States, Brenoe said.

Last year, Moller bought himself an 82-foot sailing yacht for his 96th birthday.

Through family-controlled foundations and personally held shares, Moller controls a majority of A.P. Moller-Maersk <MAERSKb.CO>, the shipping and oil group created by his father.

It is Denmark's biggest corporation, with a market value of roughly 200 billion Danish crowns ($36.1 billion), and includes the world's biggest container shipping company, Maersk Line.

Moller stepped down as chief executive in 1993 and 10 years later gave up the chairmanship.
Maersk bets on cold storage to boost land transportation business
Jan 13, 2020

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Maersk <MAERSKb.CO>, the world's biggest shipping company, plans to focus on premium services such as cold storage and digital solutions to avoid competing with its own freight-forwarding clients as it expands in the land transportation business.

Since announcing a new strategy in 2016, which included selling its oil and gas business, Maersk has focused less on market share and more on profitability and cost-cutting in its container and logistics business.

It now hopes to see its terminal and inland logistics operations, the non-Ocean business, make up a bigger part of its future earnings. In 2018, the ocean transport business accounted for almost 80% of core earnings.

While Maersk moves around one in five containers shipped at sea, it handles land transportation from ports to warehouses and distribution centers for less than a quarter of its customers.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, chief executive of APM Terminals and member of Maersk's executive board, Morten Engelstoft, said Maersk had room to "catch up" with rival shippers in its land transportation business.

"Compared to the other shipping lines, our share of the inland business is lower percentage-wise," Engelstoft said.

Rather than investing in freight trucks and threatening the core business of large freight forwarding companies - many of whom are Maersk's own customers - Engelstoft pointed to so-called 'cold chains' as a more attractive investment.

Transporting goods in a 'cold chain' means keeping perishable goods, like fruits or meat, refrigerated throughout the entire journey in order to keep goods fresh for longer.

More :
Pandemic propels makeover at shipping giant Maersk
May 11, 2021

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Shipping group Maersk said on Tuesday it expects average returns on invested capital towards 2025 to be significantly above recent years, propelled by high demand for containers to meet a surge in consumer orders.

The Danish company said it aims to bolster supply chain logistics for clients such as Puma and Walmart as it spurs a transformation that began before the pandemic.

Maersk Chief Executive Soren Skou told investors at a Capital Markets Day he expects return on invested capital (ROIC) - a measure of how well a company uses its capital to generate profits - above 12% between 2021 and 2025, compared with average returns of 2.3% in the previous five years.

More : Pandemic propels makeover at shipping giant Maersk
Maersk Lost More Than $700 Million From Russia in First Quarter
Bloomberg Excerpt
May 4, 2022

A.P. Moller Maersk A/S said it lost more than $700 million in the first quarter from the war in Ukraine as the transport giant counts the cost of exiting Russia.

Maersk said Russia dragged down its earnings before interest and tax by $718 million in the three-month period, with the main amount stemming from losses related to its terminals, according to a report on Wednesday. The Copenhagen-based company had published preliminary first-quarter earnings last month.

Maersk, which controls about one-sixth of the world’s container trade, has stopped taking new cargo to Russia and has put the stakes it owns in ports in the country up for sale. Maersk completed its last cargo operation in a Russian port on May 2, it said on Wednesday.

More : Bloomberg - Are you a robot?
Maersk Sees Record $31 Billion Profit as Shipping Rates Surge
Bloomberg Excerpt
Aug 2, 2022

A.P. Moller Maersk A/S raised its profit forecast for this second time this year after congestion on trade lanes boosted global freight rates, creating an “exceptional market” for transport companies.

Maersk, which controls about one-sixth of the world’s container trade, and its peers have benefited from supply-line disruptions as a shortage of shipping capacity has enabled them to charge higher prices for their services. Hapag-Lloyd AG, the world’s fifth-largest shipping line, on Thursday raised its profit forecast saying average freight rates have been about 80% higher in the first half of 2022. $24 billion and an average estimate of $28.4 billion in a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

More : Bloomberg - Are you a robot?
World’s largest container shipping firm Maersk, a barometer for global trade, warns of ‘dark clouds on the horizon’
CNBC Excerpt
Nov 2, 2022

Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping firm, on Wednesday posted record profit for the third quarter on the back of high ocean freight rates, but noted a slowdown in demand.

The Danish giant, widely seen as a barometer for global trade, reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $10.9 billion for the quarter, above consensus analyst projections of $9.8 billion and up around 60% from the same period a year ago.

The company confirmed its full-year guidance for underlying EBITDA of $37 billion and free cash flow above $24 billion.

More : World’s largest container shipping firm Maersk, a barometer for global trade, warns of 'dark clouds on the horizon'
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