German tourism company, TUI AG, is looking to sell its remaining 13.9% share of shipping line Hapag-Lloyd and is currently speaking to potential investors.
TUI is also considering the alternative possibility of divesting via the launch of an initial public offering (IPO) by Hapag-Lloyd which may happen in the second half of 2015.
TUI chairman, Klaus Mangold told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that the company would either choose a sale or a flotation, ” whichever comes first at a decent price”.
The travel company owns a 22% stake in the German shipping line, worth €467m (US$582m) but this share will fall to 13.9% by the end of the year since Hapag-Lloyd is merging with Chilean line, CSAV.
Corporate spokesperson of TUI, Kuzey Alexander Esener, told CM: “Currently, we’re not in a hurry to divest the remaining stake (13.9%) as soon as possible. We are talking to potential investors, however, there is no decision yet.”
He continued: “There is also the possibility of an IPO as announced before. The stake in Hapag-Lloyd is held for disposal, hence it does not have an impact on our financial results nor is it included in our forecasts.”
Esener explained that the reason for the sale was not necessarily related to the performance of the container shipping business but rather, was based on a strategic decision to focus on tourism made by the company in 2008.
He said: “Ten years ago, container shipping was supposed to be some sort of counterweight to the tourism business but it didn’t deliver any synergies. Now we’re going a step further even and looking at whether we need to keep any businesses which are not delivering any synergies to the main business.”
Hapag-Lloyd, which together with CSAV, will form the world’s fourth largest shipping company, do not anticipate any effects on operations.
Rainer Horn, Hapag-Lloyd’s director of public relations, told CM: “I am sure that this will not affect our daily business. The obvious impact on our planned IPO would only be that – after a market deal sale – TUI AG would have less or no shares left which could be sold during an IPO.”