South Korea: Hamburg Süd must exit VSAs to merge with Maersk
- Despite a smooth path of approval from oversight sources up until now, South Korea is demanding Hamburg Süd remove itself from some regional alliances before approving the merger with Maersk Line, Splash 24/7 reported Wednesday.
- The troublesome alliances are those on the Asia-Latin America route, where fair competition could be impeded.
- Maersk agreed with the order, and remains optimistic that the $4 billion merger will win approval from South Korea. Once complete, the Maersk-Hamburg Süd merger will hold 4.1 million slots, which is 1 million more than MSC, its next largest competitor.
Though the Maersk-Hamburg Süd merger hit a stumbling block in South Korea, the deal will likely still go forward.
The European Union required Maersk to divest itself of its Mercosul Line in order to gain approval of the Hamburg Sud merger, and once the company did so it received quick approval. Brazil also approved the merger, as did China with minor conditions.
Now further conditions have been imposed by South Korea, leaving only Colombia to bless the deal. Maersk openly expressed its hope for closure by the end of November, which is unlikely, but it could see resolution by year's end.
Although the merger is not fully vetted, Maersk is already enjoying the benefits of a surge in slot sharing agreements with Hamburg Süd within the 2M alliance.
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