Maersk container

Maersk Line is to pay €3.7bn to buy Germany’s Hamburg Süd. In a statement released on Friday, the Danish shipping giant said the acquisition would be on a cash and debt-free basis, and would be financed through a syndicated loan facility.

The deal, which has been cleared by the US and EU authorities and approved by Maersk’s shareholders and Hamburg Süd’s owners, is the latest round of consolidation within the shipping industry in response to plummeting freight rates.

The companies expect to save US$350-400m through synergies in the first two years after the deal.

“By keeping Hamburg Süd as a separate and well-run company, we will limit the transaction and integration risks and costs while still extracting the operational synergies,” Maersk’s CEO Søren Kou said.

Maersk said it hoped to finalise the transaction by the end of 2017.