Chile's Vapores say no merger deal yet with Germany's Hapag-Lloyd

SANTIAGO Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:59am EST

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SANTIAGO Jan 17 (Reuters) - Chilean shipping firm Compania SudAmericana de Vapores said on Friday merger talks with its larger German peer Hapag-Lloyd were continuing but no agreement had yet been reached.

Shares in Vapores rallied this week, jumping nearly 13 percent on Thursday, after media reports said the two were edging closer to a deal which would see the German shipper buy a stake in struggling Vapores.

The stock hit 35,000 Chilean pesos on Friday morning, its highest level since June 2013, before retreating to trade flat, valuing the company at around $970 million.

"None of the media reports have their origin in an official Vapores source and the fact is that to date talks have not resulted in any deal, binding or not, between Vapores and Hapag-Lloyd," Vapores said in a statement to the Santiago stock exchange on Friday, in response to the share movement.

Vapores, one of the world's oldest shipping companies, has struggled in recent years in the face of lower freight rates, high fuel prices and expensive leases.

German newspaper Die Welt reported earlier this week that a manager from Hapag-Lloyd said it wanted to reach a deal by the end of January.

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