Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Company have finally completed their merger, becoming a single company that will be one of the world’s top five leading container carriers. The combined fleet will comprise over 230 vessels, with a total capacity of 1.6 million teu that will transport over 10 million teu a year on global trade lanes.
According to Jorn Hinge, president and chief executive of UASC, “This is a major milestone in the history of both companies as we continue to evolve to meet customer needs and adapt to market conditions. We will be ready to deliver a number of important added benefits to customers, including an extensive global network, now with added focus in the Middle East, making us capable of serving you even better, globally and locally.”
For the immediate future, the two companies will continue to operate independently, as Hapag-Lloyd and UASC work to integrate their respective internal systems and processes. Customers are being asked to carry on working with existing contacts in sales, customer service, operations and finance at UASC and Hapag-Lloyd for the time being.
The first UASC services will be transferred to Hapag-Lloyd from mid-July, followed by the remainder gradually over a period of several weeks. Bookings for these services in Hapag-Lloyd’s systems will commence well in advance.
Mr. Hinge adds, “Over the course of the next few days, your Hapag-Lloyd or UASC account representative will contact customers to explain what this will mean for their business and what they can expect in the coming weeks. Ensuring a smooth transition for our customers is our top priority.” Hapag-Lloyd will establish a new regional headquarters for the Middle East, alongside existing centres in North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe, to serve this key market.
Regular updates about the progress of the integration of both companies will be communicated through a weekly transition newsletter. This will also be published on www.hapag-lloyd.com and www.uasc.net.
The two majority shareholders of UASC, Qatar Investment Authority, through its subsidiary Qatar Holding LLC, and the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PIF), will become new key shareholders of Hapag-Lloyd, with a combined holding of around 24.5%. The other UASC shareholders are the Kuwait Investment Authority, on behalf of the state of Kuwait, the Iraqi Fund for External Development (IFED), the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company.
Bahrain, which will be reflected with a combined 3.6% of the shares of Hapag-Lloyd as free float shares. Within six months after the closing, a cash capital increase by way of a rights issue is planned for Hapag-Lloyd in order to strengthen the company. This will be secured via a backstop commitment in the amount of US$ 400 million that some of the controlling shareholders have agreed to.