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NOL confirms ‘preliminary’ talks on potential sale

NOL confirms ‘preliminary’ talks on potential sale
Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) has confirmed that it is in “preliminary discussions” with France’s CMA CGM and Denmark’s AP Moller-Maersk with respect to a potential acquisition deal.

CMA CGM is now conducting due diligence while Maersk is in talks about the potential takeover of NOL, but a deal is unlikely to be struck soon, according to sources familiar with the matter citing by Bloomberg.

Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings, which owns 65% of NOL, may not be willing to let go of its stake at a low price, the report said.

“NOL has a duty to assess all options to maximise shareholder value and improve its competitiveness. From time to time, NOL enters into discussions on possible combinations involving NOL, while remaining focused on returning its core liner business to sustainable growth and profitability,” NOL said in a statement.

“There is no assurance that any such discussions will result in any definitive agreement or transaction, or that any offer for NOL will be made or as to the terms on which any such offer might be made,” it added.

It was reported in July that Temasek Holdings was looking to sell NOL, but no deal was made after discussions with the prospective buyers back then.

Loss-making NOL, which owns container carrier APL, has struggled to return to profit and sold its only profitable business APL Logistics for $1.2bn to Japan’s Kintetsu Worldwide Express.

Singapore-listed NOL recently announced a third quarter loss of $96m, widening from the deficit of $23m in the same period of 2014.