Prospects have risen that TUI AG would be able to exit its 22 percent stake in shipper Hapag-Lloyd.
TUI has long wanted to move out of container shipping to focus solely on its tourism operations, as part of which it controls Europe’s largest tour operator TUI Travel.
Chilean shipper Vapores said it had agreed to a business tie-up with Hapag-Lloyd that would create the world’s fourth largest container-shipping company.
“A business combination of Hapag-Lloyd and CSAV might offer TUI an opportunity to achieve a good price for its stake, if not in the short term, so maybe in the midterm in case the shipping industry continues its recovery,” Equinet analyst Jochen Rothenbacher said in a note.
TUI confirmed previous statements that it saw the potential tie-up between Vapores and Hapag-Lloyd as positive.
“Consolidation in the sector is needed,” a spokeswoman said.
Under the plan, Vapores would take a 30 percent stake in Hapag-Lloyd and sign a controlling agreement with Hapag’s other two key shareholders - the town of Hamburg and businessman Klaus Michael Kuehne.
“Our interest is still in an exit,” a spokeswoman for TUI said, saying that the group still wanted to pursue the option of an initial public offering for its stake to create value for shareholders. (Reuters)