DIFC Welcomes Hapag-Lloyd Merger


Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, has welcomed Hapag-Lloyd to the centre following the successful completion of its multi-billion merger with United Arab Shipping Company Limited (UASC), a DIFC company.

The transaction is one of the largest ever mergers involving a DIFC company or any company based in the Gulf region.

With 230 vessels and a combined turnover of approximately US$ 12 billion, the combined entity will be the fifth-largest liner shipping company in the world.

UASC was established in 1976 by six shareholding states as a supranational legal entity formed pursuant to a state treaty.

To make the merger possible, UASC was first re-domiciled to the DIFC. UASC has also utilised a number of innovative SPC and ISPV structures that were made available in the centre.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, said: “We are pleased to welcome one of the most established and respected global shipping businesses to DIFC’s business community, particularly at such an exciting time for the company as it announces the completion of its merger with Hapag-Lloyd.

“The move underlines how DIFC is quickly developing as a domicile of choice thanks to its experience in supporting companies with innovative structured finance transactions.

“DIFC offers a geographically attractive platform, underpinned by an internationally benchmarked regulatory and legal system, enabling businesses and investors to tap into key emerging markets across the MEASA region and thereby supporting the achievement of their respective business objectives.”

Jorn Hinge, who led UASC as Chief Executive Officer until the closing, said: “Choosing DIFC as the jurisdiction for UASC in preparation for the merger is testament to our confidence in the Centre as an important enabler as the combined entity moves forward in its regional, and global, growth strategy.

“The DIFC is an attractive choice in a number of ways, offering a range of benefits, providing access to 100% foreign ownership, zero tax, DIFC law and DIFC infrastructure.”

A Hapag-Lloyd spokesperson recently confirmed that over 1,000 employees will be cut once its merger has started with UASC.

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