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Hapag-Lloyd takes a big step with UASC

HAMBURG: May 24, 2017. Hapag-Lloyd and the United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) have completed their merger. Shareholders at the annual general meeting on May 29 will be asked to approve a capital increase within the next six months underwritten by a US$400 million "backstop commitment".

Hapag-Lloyd said it plans to save US$435 million a year as a result of the deal with a significant portion realized in 2018 and the full annualized amount the following year.

HLAG Sofia Express"This is an important strategic milestone and a big step forward for Hapag-Lloyd," said CEO Rolf Habben Jansen. "We now not only have a very strong market position in Latin America and the Atlantic, but also in the Middle East, where we will become one of the leading carriers. Our priority now is a smooth and fast integration of UASC and Hapag-Lloyd."

The new ownership structure before the expected cash increase is CSAV, 22.6 percent; HGV (City of Hamburg), 14.8 percent; Kühne Maritime, 14.6 percent; Qatar Holding, 14.4 percent; Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PIF), 10.1 percent; and the TUI Group, 8.9 percent. The remaining free float is roughly 14.6 percent, according to the company.

"During its 40-year history, UASC has grown from a regional carrier to become a truly global one with comprehensive coverage of the main trade lanes and a state-of-the-art fleet," commented chairman Nabeel Al-Amudi. "We are very proud of UASC´s achievements over the years that paved the way for such a remarkable deal," he added.

The merger follows approval from a dozen competition authorities and makes Hapag-Lloyd the world's fifth largest box carrier with 230 vessels, annual carryings of 10 million TEU, a network of 163 liner services, and an average vessel size of 6,840 TEU.

"Hapag-Lloyd has long-term and extensive know-how when it comes to acquisitions. By merging with the Canadian shipping company CP Ships in 2005 and, more recently, with CSAV in 2014, we have demonstrated that we are able to combine businesses and integrate them quickly, efficiently and profitably," Jansen explained. "We are optimistic that we will be able to complete the integration of UASC by the end of this year."

The combined company will establish a new regional office in Dubai and keep its head office in Hamburg. Shareholders CSAV, HGV and Kühne Maritime retain more than 50 percent of Hapag-Lloyd.

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