The liner shipping companies Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) completed their merger on 24 May. With 230 vessels and a shared fleet capacity of approximately 1.6 million TEU, Hapag-Lloyd is the fifth-largest liner shipping company in the world. Hapag-Lloyd will remain a publicly traded company registered in Germany with its headquarters in Hamburg.
“This is an important strategic milestone and a big step forward for Hapag-Lloyd,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, Chief Executive Officer of Hapag-Lloyd. “We now not only have a very strong market position in Latin America and the Atlantic, but also in the Middle East, where we will become one of the leading carriers. Our priority now is a smooth and fast integration of UASC and Hapag-Lloyd.”
The business combination agreement (BCA) had already been signed in Hamburg in July 2016. Since then roughly a dozen competition authorities across the world had to grant their approval. In addition, changes in the corporate legal structure were made and the consent of several banks was obtained.
At the center of the integration is the combination of 118 Hapag-Lloyd services with the 45 services making up UASC’s network. This process will start in roughly eight weeks and will take until the end of the third quarter, once the new employees from UASC have been trained to use the Hapag-Lloyd systems. After that UASC’s present transport volume will be handled on Hapag-Lloyd’s IT platform. The combined entity will thereby carry an estimated annual transport volume in excess of 10 million TEU.
UASC’s 58 vessels will be integrated into the fleet of Hapag-Lloyd. The combined fleet will then include a total of 230 vessels and be one of the youngest in the industry, with an average ship age of only 7.2 years. The average size of the vessels in Hapag-Lloyd’s new fleet will be some 6,840 TEU/vessel, approximately 30 percent larger than the average of the top 15 in the industry (5,280 TEU/vessel).
Hapag-Lloyd plans to achieve annual synergies of USD 435 million as a result of the merger. A significant portion of these savings should be realized in the course of 2018, while the full amount is expected to first be reached in 2019. In addition to the synergies we expect that it will not be necessary to make sizeable investments in newbuildings over the next few years.
Hapag-Lloyd will establish a new regional headquarters for the Region Middle East. This will add a fifth Region to the existing Regions North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe.
The two majority shareholders of UASC, Qatar Investment Authority, through its subsidiary Qatar Holding LLC, and the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PIF), will become new key shareholders of Hapag-Lloyd. The ownership structure of Hapag-Lloyd AG before the forthcoming cash capital increase, planned after the merger, is as follows (figures rounded): CSAV (22.6%), HGV (14.8%), Kühne Maritime (14.6%), Qatar Holding (14.4%), PIF (10.1%) and TUI (8.9%). The free float will amount to roughly 14.6 per cent.