Photo: Image Courtesy: Hamburg Sud

Alexander Oetker: We Could Not Be the Best Owners for Hamburg Süd

In November 2017, Germany’s Oetker Group sold the liner shipping company Hamburg Süd to Maersk Line. 

Maersk announced the acquisition in December 2016 and it took the Danish shipping giant less than a year to secure all 23 regulatory clearances to complete the transaction.

Commenting on the sale at today’s session titled Germany’s New Dawn within TradeWinds Shipowners Forum, being held as part of SMM trade fair program, Alexander Oetker, Founder and CEO of AO Shipping, said the event was sad.

“To me, personally, it is a sad event as there was a lot of family history embedded into the company,” he said.

“But of course, there is a rational question of whether we, as a family, as diverse and large as we are, can be the best owners of this particular vehicle, in the midst of a very strong consolidation process. And the answer, overtime, was that we couldn’t.”

“As sad as I am on the one hand, on the other hand, I know that the new owners will preserve the continuation of the company’s strategy and the people working in the company.”

“In shipping you have to be completely in, you cannot invest in it on the sidelines. We have other businesses that need capital, and we never want to take any debt, so there was just a rational point where we said that we should consider to sell.”

Describing the sale as “absolutely tremendous”, Oetker said that “there couldn’t have been a better buyer out there.”

Maersk’s acquisition of the German liner has paved the way for the creation of the world’s largest containership fleet of 773 vessels, including owned and chartered ships.

Namely, Maersk Line’s fleet of 668 vessels, with an average age of 9 years, was enlarged by 105 ships from Hamburg Süd. The average age of the German carrier’s fleet is 6 years.

The combined fleet has a capacity of 4,156,500 TEU, according to Alphaliner’s figures.

Maersk Line acquired Hamburg Süd for EUR 3.7 billion (USD 4.4 bn) on a cash and debt-free basis through a syndicated loan facility.

World Maritime News Staff