Both Cosco and China Shipping, via their Hong Kong-listed subsidiaries, have intimated that their proposed merger news will be revealed within the next month.
Both companies suspended trading their shares at the start of August pending a large announcement, which Splash understands will be a merger of much of the two conglomerates.
Yesterday evening, China Cosco Holdings, the Hong Kong-listed flagship of China’s largest maritime conglomerate, said its shares would remain suspended for no more than one more month. Saying the event concerned is “relatively complicated” and “asset reorganization may be involved”, Cosco revealed the transaction proposal still needs to be discussed with intermediaries and regulatory authorities.
Both China Shipping and Cosco said in their releases that a further update would be released next week.
Splash understands a five-man team – three from China Shipping and two from Cosco – has been working up integration proposals for the last two months with a view to presenting merger possibilities to authorities in Beijing soon. The plan is to get the merger complete by as early as 2017.
Were it to go through, the combined entity would become the world’s largest shipping line by quite some distance. With 783 vessels worth $22.95bn, the Chinese giant would be more than $10bn and 500 ships in front of second placed AP Moller Maersk, according to data from VesselsValue.com. It would rank number one in the dry bulk and tanker trades in terms of fleet size and valuation and would be number two in the liner trades.
China’s maritime space is undergoing significant consolidation at present – not just with the lines, but also at shipyards and ports.