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OOCL takeover rumors spark trading rush

oocl 11Orient Overseas Container Line has been a regular subject of industry rumors surrounding mergers and acquisitions.

The sensitivity of markets to takeover talk saw investors piling into Hong Kong-listed Orient Overseas (International) Limited stocks amid mounting speculation that its liner shipping unit, Orient Overseas Container Line, will be the latest target in a wave of consolidation that is sweeping over the industry.

Frantic trading in the last three days has seen millions of OOIL shares changing hands on the Hong Kong Exchange, driving up the stock price almost 20 percent higher than it was when trading resumed after the New Year holidays 10 days ago.

According to Alphaliner, Cosco Shipping and Evergreen Line have been touted as potential buyers for OOCL, although the analyst noted that neither company has publicly expressed any interest in participating in a new round of liner acquisitions. Cosco and Evergreen are OOCL’s partners in the new Ocean Alliance that is due to be launched in April this year, together with CMA CGM.

“OOCL has long been viewed as a prize catch due to its consistently profitable container shipping operations and strong yield management,” Alphaliner said in most recent weekly newsletter. “However, it has not been immune to the liner market downturn and is expected to post a full-year net loss for 2016, its first negative annual performance since 2009.”

The analyst speculated that recent moves by OOCL’s rivals to consolidate could prompt the Tung family, which controls some 69 percent of OOIL’s shares, to consider a divestment of its liner shipping activities as OOCL’s relatively small size, in comparison with its main rivals, could see it struggle to maintain its superior operating margins.

The speculation surrounding an OOCL sale has been around for years, but through all the market rumors the carrier has remained tight-lipped. In December, an OOCL spokesperson told JOC.com, “There has been a lot of speculative reporting on a number of different topics in the industry of late, but we won’t be in any position to respond to them.”

The consolidation in 2016 that has changed the face of the industry was driven by container lines searching for scale that enables them to reduce their unit costs and stem the tide of losses. Maritime analyst Dynamar reported that the top 12 lines lost a combined $13 billion in the first nine months of 2016 as excess capacity and weak demand weighed heavily on rates.

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Spot freight rates on Asia-Europe fell to their lowest ever level in mid-March, and although the prices rose sharply in the last two months of the year, too much supply and too little demand is expected to continue a decline that began a week into 2017. The weekly rate movements are tracked on JOC.com‘s Market Data Hub.

In the brutal operating environment, the carriers fell into merger and acquisition mode. Beijing merged Cosco Container Lines and China Shipping Container Lines; CMA CGM acquired NOL and its liner unit APL; Hapag-Lloyd merged with United Arab Shipping Company; Maersk Line acquired Hamburg Süd, and the three Japanese lines, NYK, MOL, and ‘K’ Line announced hat they would merge their container divisions by 2018.

Liner shipping companies could achieve scale by either driving down costs or by using a specific market combination to drive up prices, such as Maersk Line acquiring Hamburg Süd to become the dominant reefer operator on the Latin America trade, said Sanne Manders, chief operating officer of Flexport, a technology-driven freight forwarder.

“The top three players all have different strategies on how to increase scale and they are rapidly consolidating the market. MSC [Mediterranean Shipping Co.] is doing it by buying ships and they have a lot on order, CMA CGM is doing it by acquisition and Maersk has done a bit of both,” Manders said.

For Edoardo Podestà, managing director of Dachser Air and Sea Logistics Asia-Pacific, there were two factors driving container lines’ quest for scale. “The never ending quest for cheaper slot costs pushing bigger ships, but a lot of that is ego — my ship is bigger than yours,” he said.

Via: www.joc.com

Qatar, August 15, 2023QTerminals Group (51% Qatar Ports Management Company Q.C.S.C (Mwani Qatar) and 49% Qatar Navigation Q.P.S.C (Milaha)) has acquired a majority stake in “Kramer Holding B.V.”, a provider of integrated logistics and container services located in the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The acquisition of Kramer Group represents an important milestone in the expansion of QTerminals, as the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and is a significant addition to QTerminals Group’s record of success in diversifying its operations. In addition, this acquisition further reinforces QTerminals Group’s commitment to contribute towards Qatar National Vision 2030 which aims for the diversification of the national economy and foreign investments.

The CEO of QTerminals, Mr. Neville Bissett, stated: “Kramer Group is an important strategic step for QTerminals as we will expand our presence into Europe’s largest port. Kramer Group complements QTerminals and adds existing business, a robust value-creating service offering and European network to QTerminals portfolio.
Kramer Group has both core and strategic importance to the Port of Rotterdam, as it supplements the Port’s activities whilst having direct access to the deep-sea terminals of the Port of Rotterdam.
The acquisition of the Kramer Group by QTerminals allows its entry and presence in the largest port in Europe which makes QTerminals Group’s position stronger in relation to future opportunities in Europe and other developed global markets.
The presence of QTerminals in the Port of Rotterdam is strategic and reputable for QTerminals Group in particular and for the State of Qatar in general as QTerminals Group’s profile will become known in the largest European port..

“I’m very excited about this significant milestone in the journey of our family business which started 60 years ago by my father. Today, we mark the beginning of a new chapter joining forces with QTerminals. I believe that their expertise, resources, and industry insights will enable us to expand our horizons and explore untapped opportunities. Whilst maintaining our culture, organization, core team and our commitment to delivering the superior quality services to our clients in almost all aspects of container logistics”, said André Kramer, CEO of the Kramer Group.
By acquiring Kramer Group, QTerminals will continue to develop its world leading technical and operational know-how to enhance and optimize its potential as one of the leading providers of integrated container logistics services in Europe.

Kramer Group’s development and growth in recent years are indicators of good corporate management and governance of the organization. “Following our assessment of the current organization, we are excited to retain and welcome Kramer’s key management personnel and employees into QTerminals, including Mr André Kramer, who will continue as Chief Executive Officer” said Neville Bissett.

About Kramer Group

The Kramer Group is an integrated container handling and storage, terminal, container development and logistics services provider, located in the Port of Rotterdam, and is the only independent terminal in the Maasvlakte area, and one of the few multi-user depot terminals in the port.

The Company operates in six different locations with network access to the principal terminals, of which five are at the Maasvlakte and one at the Eem-/Waalhaven, and has tri-modal transport options via rail, water and road.