NOL finally confirms Hapag-Lloyd bid

NEPTUNE Orient Lines has for the first time officially confirmed its interest in acquiring Hapag Lloyd.

Singapore-based NOL confirmed it had submitted an indicative non-binding bid to acquire the Hapag-Lloyd container shipping business. Submissions for indicative bids for the German line closed yesterday.

NOL has been linked to a possible acquisition since early this year but has consistently declined to comment on whether it did indeed plan to make a bid for Hapag Lloyd.

The Singapore company said that a completed transaction would result in the integration of its liner arm and Hapag Lloyd creating the world’s third largest container line.

NOL gave no details of its bid and said simply: “Details of the proposal are confidential and commercially sensitive.”

It also commented that: “At this stage [it would be] premature to state whether the indicative non-binding bid will lead to a definitive transaction.”

On Monday Lloyd’s List reported that NOL was talking down the value of Hapag Lloyd believing it to be worth €3bn to €3.4bn.

The only other party confirmed to have submitted an indicative bid is a group of Hamburg entrepreneurs, who put in what they described as a “competitive” bid.

Today investors have reacted negatively to news of a possible bid by NOL with its share price falling by 2.2% to S$3.15.

“Weakening industry fundamentals increases the possibility that Neptune Orient will overpay for the assets,” said Macquarie analysts, Jon Windham and Winnie Guo, in a Bloomberg report.