* Maersk to divest 31 percent stake in shipper DFDS
* Proceeds could amount to 1.67 bln crowns ($296 mln
COPENHAGEN, Sept 5 Danish oil and shipping group
A.P. Moller-Maersk has launched the sale of its
31.3 percent stake in Danish shipping company DFDS,
which could bring in proceeds of around 1.67 billion Danish
crowns ($296 mln).
Maersk sold its shipping-line Norfolkline, which primarily
operates in the waters around Britain, to DFDS in July 2010 and
received the stake in DFDS as part payment. After a two year
lock-up period of the shares, Maersk can now sell the stake.
"As we have said earlier, we have been interested in selling
our stake in DFDS, when the timing was right," Maersk chief
financial officer Trond Westlie said in a statement.
"This is in line with our continued portfolio optimization,"
Maersk plans to spin off some non-core activities to focus
on five identified core areas - Maersk Line, APM Terminals,
Maersk Oil, Maersk Drilling and Services & Other Shipping.
The group announced the launch of an accelerated book built
offering of its DFDS stake on Thursday. Danske Bank
and Nordea Markets are joint book runners in the
Maersk currently holds 4.66 million DFDS shares, which
traded down 3.4 percent at 358 crowns per share 0815 GMT.
DFDS said in a separate announcement that it will purchase
1.78 million of the shares, equivalent to 12 percent of its
total share capital and intends to cancel those shares.
DFDS' main shareholder Lauritzen Foundation has committed to
purchase 300,000 shares, equivalent to 2.0 percent, DFDS said.
Shares in Maersk rose 1.2 percent to 50,050 crowns per share
against a 0.3 percent increase in the Copenhagen stock exchange
benchmark index OMXC20CAP.