Battle over Hapag-Lloyd heats up
A battle over the future of the Hapag-Lloyd is heating up in advance of a meeting next Monday of the supervisory board of its parent company.
Shipping magnate John Fredriksen, chairman and chief executive officer of the tanker company Frontline, has reportedly increased to somewhere between 5 percent to 10 percent his stake in TUI, the German tourism company that also owns Hapag-Lloyd, the world’s fifth-largest container shipping company.
Fredriksen and other dissident shareholders like the American Guy Wyser-Pratte are urging TUI to spin the container shipping company off into an independent company, feeling there is little synergy between its moving cargo in boxes and tourism.
Tor Olav Troim, Frontline vice president and Fredriksen lieutenant, told Reuters in an interview that Hapag-Lloyd “needs to get larger in this market.”
A report in Financial Times Deutschland cites sources as saying TUI CEO Michael Frenzel is contacting major investors urging them to oppose a proposed split up of the company.
While Troim told Reuters Fredriksen is not acting in concert with other shareholders, the wire service said he and Wyser-Pratte believe they may have a 75 percent backing of shareholders by the time the company holds its annual general meeting on May 7.
Meanwhile, Klaus Michael Kuehne, chairman of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, also said in an interview that he likes the idea of spinning off the container shipping unit.
Kuehne told the German newspaper Die Welt that he would personally buy shares in the company if it became a separate company.