Swiss group MSC acquires Hanjin’s stake in U.S. ports operator

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By Jonathan Saul | LONDON

LONDON A unit of Swiss shipping group MSC has
bought a stake in U.S. ports operator Total Terminals
International (TTI) from Hanjin, MSC said on
Wednesday, having overcome objections from the South Korean
line’s U.S. creditors.

Privately owned MSC, the world’s no.2 global shipping line,
said in a statement its subsidiary Terminal Investment Ltd.
(TiL) had completed the acquisition in conjunction with South
Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), which would see TiL
assuming an 80 percent stake and HMM having the remaining 20
percent in TTI.

Last month, a U.S. judge gave the green light for the sale
of failed Hanjin’s stake in TTI despite objections from
container companies owed money by Hanjin, concerned whether the
shipping group was getting the best price.

The TTI sale included Terminal Investment forgiving $54.6
million in debt owed by Hanjin.

The U.S. judge said the sale was supported by the ports of
Seattle and Long Beach.

TTI leases and operates container terminals in Long Beach
and Seattle on the West Coast of the United States.

“Our focus throughout the acquisition consultation has been,
and will continue to be, rebuilding the business and servicing
the needs of our affiliated shipping line MSC, its 2M partner
Maersk, and our new joint venture partner HMM,” Til president
Alistair Baillie said in a statement.

Container lines are battling their worst ever downturn due
to a glut of ships and weaker demand – prompting rivals to form
vessel sharing arrangements including the 2M alliance between
MSC and the world’s number one player Maersk.

Heavily indebted South Korean line HMM said in December it
had agreed to form a co-operative relationship with the 2M
shipping alliance that fell short of full-fledged membership.

TTI saw a steep drop in its container traffic after Hanjin,
the world’s seventh-largest container line, filed for court
protection from its creditors in August last year.

The sale includes all of Hanjin’s equity interests and
shareholder loans, in both TTI and the associated terminal
equipment leasing company, Hanjin TEC Inc, MSC said.



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