Maersk Line, fresh from announcing plans to seek acquisitions rather than build new ships, is being linked as the white knight to swallow up South Korea’s two struggling leading liners, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) and Hanjin Shipping.
In an interview with Bloomberg David Kerstens, Jefferies’s transport analyst in London, commenting on acquisition targets for Maersk, said: “The most likely scenario is that Maersk would take over the assets of Hyundai and Hanjin.”
The comments saw the share price in Hanjin Shipping soar 19% today. Hanjin entered court receivership at the end of August, while HMM has also been through a very tricky restructuring this year.
“There’s been a lot of consolidation this year and many of the container lines just behind Maersk have grown,” Kerstens said. “So Maersk is faced with substantially stronger competition.”
Buying the pair would give Maersk Line an additional 5% global market share in the liner trades and keep rivals at bay, and importantly it would bolster its transpacific exposure.
“We do not comment on speculation,” a Maersk Line spokesperson said when quizzed by Splash today.
Sources have also in the past told Splash that Maersk has looked at buying the container division of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), something the Danish firm has also strenuously denied.
For all the latest on the decline and fall of Hanjin Shipping, click here.