(Adds more details on deal, background, paragraphs 6-11)
SANTIAGO Jan 22 Germany's Hapag-Lloyd
and Chilean shipper Vapores have agreed to a business
tie-up that would create the world's fourth largest
container-shipping company, the companies said on Wednesday.
Vapores will take a 30 percent stake in Hapag-Lloyd, making
it the single largest shareholder in the German company, under
terms of the non-binding memorandum of understanding.
It said it will sign a pact with Hapag-Lloyd key
shareholders: the city of Hamburg and businessman Klaus-Michael
Kuehne. Together they will hold 75.5 percent of the firm.
The deal contemplates two capital hikes totaling 740 million
euros ($1.00 billion) within 12 months of the business tie-up,
370 million of which would be part of Hapag-Lloyd's debut on the
stock market, the company said.
The statement did not specify which stock market the shares
would float on.
German travel and tourism company TUI AG, which
holds 22 percent of Hapag-Lloyd, has said it wants to exit its
stake in Hapag-Lloyd so it can focus solely on tourism. But its
Chief Financial Officer Horst Baier was quoted in German paper
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung on Sunday as saying the
company is interested in an IPO of their stake, despite the
Vapores said it plans to subscribe to 259 million euros in
the first capital increase, boosting its stake in Hapag-Lloyd to
around 34 percent.
Expected synergies from the deal would be around $300
million annually, they said.
The new company would have combined annual sales of nearly
$12 billion and transportation capacity of almost 1 million
20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
Vapores, majority-owned by the billionaire Luksic family,
Chile's richest, has been seeking to battle steep losses caused
by low freight rates, high fuel prices and expensive leases.
Earlier this year, the owners of unlisted Hapag-Lloyd called
off a planned merger with rival German shipper Hamburg-Sued
because terms could not be agreed.
At the time, major Hapag-Lloyd shareholder Klaus-Michael
Kuehne had said the combination between the German peers was
attractive, arguing it made sense to bolt Hapag-Lloyd's Asia
focus to Hamburg-Sued's strength on South American routes.
($1 = 0.7372 euros)
(Reporting by Santiago newsroom; Additional reporting by
Victoria Bryan in Frankfurt; Writing by Anthony Esposito;
Editing by Andre Grenon and David Gregorio)