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OOIL quashes Hapag-Lloyd bid talk, cites weak market

OOIL quashes Hapag-Lloyd bid talk, cites weak market

Hong Kong: Hong Kong-based container ship operator Orient Overseas (International) Ltd (OOIL) dismissed speculation on Thursday it was bidding for TUI's Hapag-Lloyd operation, saying a weak market put it off an acquisition potentially costing more than $6 billion.

German travel and shipping group TUI  received at least four offers for its Hapag-Lloyd container shipping business, including from a German consortium and Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines last week.

The world's fifth-largest shipping firm could fetch more than 4 billion euros ($6.4 billion), analysts and market experts have estimated.

"This is a very good operation. However, given the current market situation..., the decision was taken that this is not the appropriate time to enter the process," OOIL Chief Financial Officer Ken Cambie told reporters on Thursday, where the Tung-controlled firm announced disappointing interim results with net profit down 93% year-on-year to US$158m. OOIL cited high fuel costs as the main reason for the drop in profirts.

Separately Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that the  consortium of German investors and the city of Hamburg submitted the highest bid for Hapag-Lloyd, citing no sources.  [31/7/08]