Maersk linked with taking over both Hanjin and HMM

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.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. MAERSK snaps up HMM and HJS?? That seems a good joke. Which analyst came to this result?? What would Maersk need? The ships? ALL ships? The organizations? Definitely not. Why should the buy the whole rotten car, if they only need the tires??? Further, Maersk has proven that they are not good at taking over and integrating other carriers, if we just remember the PNOL takeover. Taking over HJS & HMM would be a costly exercise which may just weaken the actual Maersk position in the industry. Just remember: Since August 31st, 2016 “Too big to Fail” isn’t a truth anymore!!

  2. My humble opinion:
    the devil is in the balance sheet. All denominations in KRW.
    By a snap glance:
    HMM [1Q16]: 4.3tn liabilities and 203bn equity
    Hanjin [FY15]: 6.6tn liabilities and 805bn equity

    Seems that wiping out equity ain’t enough for any meaningful deleveraging of the B/S
    Taking also into account that there will be no govt bailout, who in his right mind would want to acquire any of these entities, especially under current unfavorable market circumstances rendering organic profitability almost impossible? Let alone the legal complexities especially in the case of Hanjin where courts and lawyers will be busy for a long time as we go forward. Who buys a concern with such a legacy and outlook?

    also, I thought Maersk already enjoys a 9.5% share in the transpacific hauls
    Not sure this rumor makes any conceivable sense

    Better off for the industry if HMM and Hanjin fleets are sold at distressed values and are immediately laid up by their new owners. Then again some creditors will have to bite the bullet, yet somebody has to pick up the tab for this whole mess

  3. I, hope the South Korea Government says NO to this from Happening..All Maersk want to do is get rid of everyone in the container business, small and large, raise rates 60%, have a fleet of 1400 ships, this would be a monopoly in Asia market, and force everyone out within six, (6) years, This is what Maersk tried to do with the formation of 3M, using Maersk, MSC, & CMA/CGM, Lucky CHINA said NO to that, “But”, USA Government like they are, Knuckled under pressure, with money in their hip pockets in return.

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