NOL seeks US$7bn loan

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NOL seeks US$7bn loan

Analysts are interpreting Singaporean shipping giantís efforts this week to secure US$5bn-7bn in loans as a sure sign it plans to buy Germanyís Hapag-Lloyd

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Container shipping giant Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) of Singapore is trying to raise US$5bn-US$7bn in loans, reports Reuters, the clearest sign yet it will bid for Hapag-Lloyd of Germany.

The merger of the two companies could potentially create the world’s third largest container shipping group, behind Danish firm A.P. Moller-Maersk, and privately-owned Mediterranean Shipping, Reuters said.

The talks come as Michael Frenzel, the chief executive of the German tourism group TUI, is touring Asia to market his company's container shipping business, Hapag-Lloyd, worth around US$7bn.

Analysts in Germany said the possible financing highlighted NOL’s seriousness in pursuing the bid, which would require the financial support of its major shareholder, Temasek Holdings, a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund.

Reuters said a spokesman for Neptune Orient Lines declined to comment. In April, the company's chief executive, Thomas Held, said the company was looking at a merger with Hapag-Lloyd as an option for growth. 

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