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UASC shareholders back merger with Hapag-Lloyd

UASC shareholders back merger with Hapag-Lloyd
The United Arab Shipping Co (UASC) moved a step closer to merging with Hapag-Lloyd on Wednesday with its shareholders approving the proposed business combination.

The Middle East based container shipping line said,"...all six of UASC's shareholding states voted unanimously to approve the proposed merger with Hapag-Lloyd AG (Hapag-Lloyd) with a relative valuation of the two businesses at 72% for Hapag-Lloyd's shareholders and 28% for UASC's shareholders."

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.

"Several legal and administrative tasks need to be completed before the binding agreement can be formally signed," UASC added.

The merger has already been approved by Hapag-Lloyd’s supervisory board earlier this week, but still requires the approval of its major shareholders.

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

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

The move by Hapag-Lloyd and UASC to combine comes at a time of continued consolidation in the container shipping with CMA CGM passing the 91.05% holding mark in Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) this week guaranteeing it 100% control of the Singapore-headquartered line.