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TUI grapples with lower than expected bids for Hapag-Lloyd

Hamburg: Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines and a group of Hamburg-based investors have made the shortlist in the race for the world's fifth-largest container shipping group. However, sources tell Reuters senior management at TUI Group, which owns up-for-sale Hapag-Lloyd are less than pleased with the bids made thus far.
Analysts predicted earlier this year that Hapag-Lloyd could fetch up to 5bn euros in a sale. But they now cite reports that the bids are in a 3.1bn-3.4bn euro range.
Worse still, NOL, with a new man at the helm in the form of Ron Widdows, is now playing cool on the deal. NOL's chief executive was quoted as saying in the German daily Die Welt that the company has not definitely decided whether to go through with a bid and that the market environment for a purchase has deteriorated. Moreover, rumours abound that the Hamburg consortium, the other main bidder, might struggle to raise sufficient funds for the containerline purchase.  [27/8/08]

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