Hapag-Lloyd and UASC sign Business Combination Agreement

Hapag-Lloyd UASC
Hapag-Lloyd AG and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) have now signed a Business Combination Agreement (BCA) to merge both companies, as anticipated, subject to the necessary regulatory and contractual approvals.

Following the integration, the new Hapag-Lloyd will rank among the five largest container shipping lines in the world, with 237 vessels and a total transport capacity of around 1.6 million TEU, an annual transport volume of 10 million TEU and a combined turnover of approximately USD 12 billion. The combined company will remain a registered and stock listed company in Germany with its head office in Hamburg. CSAV, HGV (City of Hamburg) and Kühne Maritime will remain controlling shareholders of Hapag-Lloyd. The majority shareholders of UASC, Qatar Holding LLC (QH) and The Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PIF), will become new key shareholders of Hapag-Lloyd holding 14 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd, said: “This strategic merger makes a lot of sense for both carriers – as we are able to combine UASC’s emerging global presence and young and highly efficient fleet with Hapag-Lloyd’s broad, diversified market coverage and strong customer base. Furthermore it will give the new Hapag-Lloyd access to Ultra Large Container Vessels. After the successful integration of CSAV, which was concluded mid-2015, this transaction with UASC is another historic milestone for Hapag-Lloyd. The merger reinforces our position as a top five and one of the largest truly global carriers in liner shipping.”

The combined company will build on UASC’s existing presence in Middle Eastern markets and trades, with a commitment to further strengthening this by establishing a fifth Hapag-Lloyd Regional Center in Dubai.

Jorn Hinge, President and CEO of UASC, said: “With this merger, we are embarking on an exciting new phase of UASC’s growth. Leveraging on UASC’s heritage in the Middle East, as well as our recent growth in other markets, the combined company will provide customers with valuable expertise and very efficient service offerings in all major trade lanes and markets around the world.”

The fleet of the combined company will consist of 237 ships – including UASC´s six recently received 18,800 TEU ships, known for their superior eco-efficiency credentials, as well as 11 newly built 15,000 TEU ships, the last of which will be delivered soon.

The company will be central to the new ‘THE Alliance’, comprising Hanjin, Hapag-Lloyd, K-Line, Mitsui OSK Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Yang Ming. THE Alliance is scheduled to begin operation in April 2017 and will cover all East-West trade lanes including Asia-Middle East/Arabian Gulf and Red Sea.

Michael Behrendt, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Hapag-Lloyd, said: “Hapag-Lloyd and UASC now take the next step to further consolidate and shape the liner shipping industry. The new transaction is strengthening not only our market position, but also our service portfolio. The merger will create annual net synergies of at least 400 million US Dollars and save a significant amount of capital expenditure for the company.”

Following regulatory and contractual approvals, the merger is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. Until then, UASC and Hapag-Lloyd will continue to operate as standalone companies. Each company will also operate in its own alliance as currently structured until the end of March 2017, after which THE Alliance will commence operations.