With a protracted deal for Hong Kong’s OOCL now done and dusted, Cosco Shipping is turning its attention to Marseille-based CMA CGM as it makes plain its bid to surpass Maersk to become the world’s largest containerline.
State-backed Chinese giant Cosco, along with port group SIPG, have sealed a deal to buy the parent of OOCL at an offer price of HK$78.67 ($10.07) per share. The price represents a 31.1% premium on Friday’s closing price of HK$60.00 and values OOIL at around $6.3bn.
Upon completion of the transaction Cosco will hold 90.1% of the Hong Kong line while SIPG will hold 9.9%.
Wan Min, chairman of Cosco Shipping Holdings, commented: “We respect OOIL’s management team and its expertise, not to mention its people, brand and culture. Our company remains committed to enhancing Hong Kong as an international shipping center. Following completion, we will continue to invest and strengthen our industry leadership, providing a more extensive platform for the employees of OOIL to excel.”
The acquisition takes Cosco – which merged with China Shipping a couple of years ago – past CMA CGM into third place in the global rankings with a fleet equating to around 2.4m slots.
With the Yildirim family putting its 24% stake of CMA CGM up for auction – and appointing China’s Citic bank to carry out the sale – Chinese interests are widely tipped as the most likely buyers of the near quarter holding in the French line.
Sources connected to Cosco tell Splash that the eventual goal for the Chinese line is to overhaul Maersk as the world’s largest containerline.
For the Tung family, which control close to 70% of the shares in OOCL, the sale of the containerline is not a goodbye to shipping as the family still has its privately run Island Navigation, which has become increasingly active in the past year.
Commenting on the sale of OOIL, executive director Andy Tung, said: “We are proud of the business we have built and the people who have been building it. This decision has been carefully considered and we believe it helps ensure the future success of OOIL. We are confident that Cosco Shipping Holdings is the right partner for us.”