In a bid to kick-start its growth plan, Maersk is to target South Korea’s two largest shipping firms, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) and Hanjin in a possible takeover of the two firms, according to Bloomberg.
David Kerstens, Transport Analyst for Jefferies, said that Maersk is likely the only carrier with the financial strength to manage such a takeover; and both lines would need a strong alliance partner such as Maersk.
Kerstens said: “Maersk, as the market leader, will definitely participate in the consolidation – they will have to.” But “the takeover options for Maersk are fairly limited, as most container lines are already tied up in alliances or are family or government-controlled. The most likely scenario is that Maersk would take over the assets of Hyundai and Hanjin.”
This follows news that the Hanjin scenario had reached a new height of financial and operational difficulty amid reports that it would now be ‘impossible’ to recover operations.
The collapse of Hanjin has also extended fears that other global lines could be at risk of collapse, as many are not as financially stable as they were in the period that followed the 2008 financial crisis.
With Maersk’s recent announcement that it has decided to split into a transport and energy company, this latest announcement is indicative of its efforts to consolidate and strengthen its global position.
Kerstens said: “There’s been a lot of consolidation this year and many of the container lines just behind Maersk have grown. So Maersk is faced with substantially stronger competition.”
In other recent news, HMM unveiled plans to buy Hanjin, with HMM’s stocks soaring as it looks to acquire assets belonging to Hanjin.