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COPENHAGEN/BIELEFELD, Germany: December 01, 2016. Maersk Line has agreed to purchase shipping line Hamburg Süd from the family-owned Oetker Group for a reported US$ billion.

Both companies said the acquisition is subject to final agreement and regulatory approvals, and if successful is expected to close at the end of 2017.

Maersk Hamburg Sud combinedThe Oetker Group, with additional interests in food, beverages and banking, says it derives nearly 50 percent of its annual €12 billion revenue from shipping.

The company said the decision to sell Hamburg Süd and its Brazilian subsidiary Alianca is prompted by the rapid consolidation of the ocean container business and a subsequent level of investment that would "make the balancing of risk within the Oetker Group business portfolio more cumbersome".

With a carrying volume of around 4.1 million TEU and a slot capacity of approximately 625,000, Hamburg Süd ranks among the world's 10 largest container shipping companies. The tramp, product tanker and other operations make up some seven percent of turnover that totaled €6.1 billion in 2015.

"Giving up our engagement in shipping after an 80 year-long ownership in Hamburg Süd was not an easy decision for my family," said Dr. August Oetker, chairman of the Advisory Board of Dr. August Oetker KG, the management holding company of the Oetker Group.

"We are very confident, though, to have chosen the best of all possible partners. Maersk will preserve and grow Hamburg Süd and what the brand and the whole organization and a highly dedicated workforce stand for: reliable and high quality logistical services to our customers," he added.

Maersk Group CEO Søren Skou commented: "The acquisition of Hamburg Süd is in line with our growth strategy and will increase the volumes of both Maersk Line and APM Terminals." In September, Maersk said it would grow market share organically and through acquisitions.

During the due diligence and regulatory approval period, Hamburg Süd and Aliança will continue as separate brands said Maersk. "We wish to maintain the personal touch and engagement they offer their customers. In short, Hamburg Süd and Aliança customers will also be Hamburg Süd and Aliança customers in the future," Skou declared.

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