Maersk sells oil tankers to owner, opening door to Mitsui

The logo of the Japanese trading company Mitsui & Co. is seen in Tokyo, Japan, February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - A.P. Moller-Maersk MAERSKb.CO has agreed a $1.71 billion deal to sell its oil tanker division to its controlling shareholder, who in turn will enter an ownership consortium with Japan's Mitsui & Co 8031.T.

The Danish conglomerate last year embarked on a restructuring to focus on transport and logistics and last month sold its oil and gas business to Total TOTF.PA in a $7.45 billion deal.

Maersk said it will use the proceeds to reduce debt and that the sale, which it expects to close by next month, will have no impact on its financial guidance for 2017.

A.P. Moller Holding, a wholly-owned fund established by the founder of A.P. Moller-Maersk with approximately $20 billion under management, will take ownership of Maersk Tankers through its subsidiary APMH Invest A/S.

Maersk said the new owner will establish an ownership consortium for Maersk Tankers’ fleet with Mitsui & Co. and other potential partners, but that A.P. Moller Holding will remain the majority shareholder.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; editing by Alexander Smith