Third largest carrier CMA CGM and A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S are currently in talks for the potential sale of shipping company Neptune Orient Lines NOL, according to Bloomberg.
NOL said: “NOL has a duty to assess all options to maximize shareholder value and improve its competitiveness”, adding that the discussion are still in the early and nothing has been confirmed yet.
CMA CGM has made a preliminary offer of US$1.9 billion for NOL.
Maersk is also in talks regarding the acquisition of NOL, though the discussions are said to be less advanced.
A deal is unlikely to be struck soon, as the slumping shipping sector damps the appetite for aggressive bidding.
Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings currently owns 67% of NOL, of which the company may not willingly sell.
Nils Smedegaard Andersen, CEO of Maersk group, said: “We’ve always said that we will look at everything that comes up for sale in the market but our base strategy is to grow organically. In general we welcome any consolidation – that would only be healthy for the container line industry.”
Acquiring Neptune Orient would help consolidate CMA CGM’s number three position in container shipping as it competes with market leaders Maersk and MSC, both of which own more than 2.5 million TEU in fleet capacity.
CMA CGM has recently announced that it is building the world’s smart ship, and will be the first ship to be equipped with TRAXENS technology.