Rumours that Cosco and China Shipping group are to merge have resurfaced, leading to a surge in speculative trading that boosted both companies’ stock prices today.
The two companies were ordered to come up with a merger plan late Thursday, sources told the South China Morning Post.
The companies’ five subsidiaries listed in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong all applied for a trading halt after market close on Friday, which they said was to plan “material matters”.
Chinese media reported on April 16 that Beijing was planning to consolidate several of its state-owned giants, which would include the mergers of Cosco, China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL), China Merchants Group and Sinotrans. The merger of Cosco and CSCL has been mooted for at least the past three years.
On the Hong Kong stock exchange, CSCL’s share price rose by 23.9% on yesterday to HK$3.11 ($0.40) today. Cosco’s share price grew 13.56% to HK$4.94 ($0.64).
The two companies already cooperate closely, having signed a ‘Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement’ in February last year. The framework allows Cosco and CSCL to share resources and facilities in shipping, terminal operation, logistics, shipbuilding and ship repair.
Elsewhere, China’s troubled stock markets have rallied, with both the Shanghai Composite Index and the Shenzhen Composite Index posting gains this week. “The market has stabilised with weak turnover, which is usually a sign it has reached the near-term bottom, so investors felt safe to buy at this level,” Phillip Securities analyst Chen Xingyu told AFP.