SANTIAGO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Chilean shipping firm Compania SudAmericana de Vapores said on Thursday it is planning two capital increases for a total of up to $600 million to get the funds necessary for a planned tie-up with Hapag-Lloyd.
Vapores is poised to take a 30 percent stake in Hapag-Lloyd AG, making it the single largest shareholder of the German shipping company.
But low freight rates, high fuel prices and expensive leases mean the Chilean shipper, the majority of which is owned by the billionaire Luksic family, needs fresh funds.
Vapores will launch a $200 million capital hike in the first half of the year to help finance the purchase of seven container ships from Samsung Heavy Industries, the company said in a statement.
If Vapores fails to raise the money, controlling group Quinenco will step in to buy the remaining shares.
That capital hike could be followed by another for up to $400 million, contingent on the completion of the tie-up with Hapag-Lloyd.
Vapores' board said the second capital hike, scheduled for the second half of 2014, would have to rake in at least $200 million.
The funds from the second increase would be used to subscribe to 259 million euros in Hapag-Lloyd's first capital increase, boosting Vapores' stake in the German company to around 34 percent.