A.P. Moller – Maersk selling car carriers for stake in H÷egh Autoliners
H'egh Autoliners, Maersk to cooperate on car carrier vessels
Denmark’s A.P. Moller – Maersk Group will acquire a 37.5 percent holding in Norwegian roll-on/roll-off firm H'egh Autoliners in exchange for 18 car carriers, including six newbuildings.
Financial details of the deal, expected to be completed in March, were not disclosed, though Reuters reported that Maersk would benefit with an accounting gain of $200 million after tax in 2008. Leif H'egh & Co. Ltd. will retain its position as majority shareholder in H'egh Autoliners.
Established in 1969, H'egh Autoliners carried about 1.9 million car equivalent units (CEUs) in 2007. Upon completion of the transaction with Maersk, the Oslo-based company will operate 67 vessels with an order book that will increase its fleet capacity by 45 percent to 85 ships in 2012.
Last February, H'egh Autoliners entered into a cooperation agreement to operate 12 car carrier vessels of Maersk Shipping Singapore.
H'egh Autoliners said capacity in the car carrier market is “squeezed,” and with world car production expected to grow annually by about 3 percent to 4 percent from 65 million units in 2007 to 90 million units in 2015, “new ways of thinking” are required to meet that demand.
'With A.P. Moller – Maersk as a partner we have secured a platform for continued growth and enhanced our position for further strengthening our services,” said Thor J'rgen Guttormsen, chief executive officer of H'egh Autoliners. “This improves our ability to meet our customers' current and future requirements for services and transportation volume and strengthens our strategic implementation capacity.'
S'ren Skou, partner and member of group executive board of A.P. Moller – Maersk, said: 'Through the shareholding in H'egh Autoliners we are looking forward to moving from being a tonnage provider in the car carrier market to participating directly in a world class car carrier liner operation. We find the outlook for the industry attractive as car manufacturing increasingly takes place in Asia and as new markets in India and China develop. We believe in H'egh Autoliners' strategy and believe we can contribute positively to the cooperation based on our group's capabilities within liner shipping and logistics.'