Shippers Vapores, Hapag-Lloyd clear hurdle to merger deal

SANTIAGO, April 21 Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:44pm EDT

SANTIAGO, April 21 (Reuters) - A significant majority of shareholders in Chilean shipper Compania SudAmericana de Vapores lent their support to the firm's merger with Germany's Hapag-Lloyd, allowing the agreed deal to clear a hurdle.

The deal to create the world's No. 4 container-shipping company was conditional on no more than 5 percent of Vapores' total shareholders exercising withdrawal rights by April 20. The Chilean company said on Monday that dissident shareholders exercised withdrawal rights on only 2.7 percent of total shares.

"This is another step in the road to completing this transaction, which we're sure will be enormously beneficial for our company and our investors," Vapores chief executive Oscar Hasbun said.

Shipping groups have been struggling through the worst slump on record, as they grapple with low freight rates brought by overcapacity and a weak global economy.

The deal will now need to pass regulatory scrutiny and the approval of the City of Hamburg's Senate. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by David Gregorio)

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