Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kuehne Calls On TUI To Leave Hapag-Lloyd

New Shareholders Needed
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – Freight supremo Klaus-Michael Kuehne has publically stated that he would like to see fellow investors in troubled shipping line Hapag-Lloyd sell their stock.

Speaking to journalists in Hamburg the majority share holder of logistics group Kuehne + Nagel said that he would like to see the TUI AG group sell its 43% share holdings in Hapag-Lloyd to allow new investors a chance to take up options.

Kuehne also admitted to an interest in increasing his own 15% stake in the container line as long as certain conditions were met that saw all share holders in Hapag committed to reviving the troubled company. “The mix of investors at the moment bothers me,” he told the Hamburg Financial Journalists' Club.

Hapag-Lloyd has already had a detrimental effect upon TUI’s financial figures last year, costing the travel group an estimated $1 billion due to poor returns in freight tonnages.

TUI has already sold a substantial part of its holding to the Albert Ballin consortium of investors, which includes Kuehne, and these comments could well provide further impetus for TUI to sell up, though they have stated that though they do intend to do this in the future there are no discussions on this issue taking place currently.

Speaking of his predictions for the future of the shipping business, Kuehne said that he believed the worst of the crisis that has beset the industry in the last year had now passed, but that the road to recovery will not be easy and that further consolidation amongst the container shipping lines could very well prove necessary.