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UASC’s tanker fleet valued at $530m amid Hapag-Lloyd merger sell-off reports

UASC’s tanker fleet valued at $530m amid Hapag-Lloyd merger sell-off reports
The fleet of United Arab Shipping Company’s (UASC) tanker arm has been independently valued at $530m amid reports it could be sold off to facilitate the proposed merger with Hapag-Lloyd.

The Dubai-headquartered UASC is reportedly weighing the sale of its 39.4% stake in United Arab Chemical Carriers (UACC) to clear the way for Hapag-Lloyd to acquire UASC’s entire share issue, as confirmed by Seatrade Maritime News late last month.

Bank of America Corp has purportedly been tasked with seeking buyers.

Reports have suggested UASC’s 24-strong UACC tanker fleet, made up of four LR1 and 20 MR product tankers with a combined capacity of 1,228,100dwt, could fetch as much as $600m. However Vessels Value has valued the fleet at $530.88m. Vessels Value lists UASC as having just under a 40% stake in UACC, with Gulf International Bank, Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo Holding and Milaha each controlling 10.5% each.

Hamburg-based Hapag-Lloyd, Germany’s biggest container-shipping line, is known to be interested solely in UASC’s container-shipping activities which makes the sale of UASC’s chemical-tanker business the next logical step in the takeover. UASC is said to be eyeing the sale of its air cargo business as part of the Hapag-Lloyd deal, insiders have said.

The proposed marriage would critically provide Hapag-Lloyd with access to UASC’s six 18,000 teu boxships. Such ultra-large containerships are the weapon of choice in the economy-of-scale and environmentally conscious arms race among the world’s major operators and a size Hapaq-Lloyd lacks.

According to analysts Alphaliner, a combined Hapag-Lloyd and UASC would be the world’s fifth largest container line with a 1.47m teu capacity fleet, behind the recently merged Cosco China Shipping. It would see Hapag-Lloyd leapfrog Evergreen Marine in capacity terms.

It would be Hapag-Lloyd’s second merger in recent years with it having coupled with the container shipping activities of Chilean line CSAV in December 2014.

UASC is majority owned by the state of Qatar which increased its stake in the container line to 51.3% in 2014, while the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq and Kuwait are all shareholders in the line. Saudi Arabia is said to own a 35% stake.