The shareholders and advisory board of Dr. August Oetker KG have today approved the sale of Oetker’s shipping division Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts- Gesellschaft KG (Hamburg Süd), which means halving of current sales of the Bielefeld/Germany-based family-owned holding, which also operates the nation’s leading beer and beverage group Radeberger.
As already reported earlier(inside.beer, 3.12.2016) Oetker’s logistics arm will be sold to Maersk Line, the world’s largest and leading carrier in container shipping and the largest operating unit in A.P. Moller–Maersk, a Danish business conglomerate. Competition authorities of the USA and EU already gave the go-ahead subject to certain conditions. Final closing is expected to take place by the end of this year when also approvals of the authorities of the remaining involved countries have been received.
Maersk Line also said today in an announcement that it will pay €3.7 billion on a cash and debt-free basis, which will be financed through a syndicated loan facility. The final sales prices was so far not disclosed and left room for speculations.
“Today, we have taken a decisive step towards the shared future of Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd. Our due diligence confirmed that Hamburg Süd is a well-run company with strong and highly respected brands. We have confirmed the anticipated synergies and we are convinced that our plan to maximize customer retention is the right path forward,” says Søren Skou, CEO of Maersk Line and A.P. Moller–Maersk.
It has to be seen, what Oetker will do with the proceeds received from Maersk. Most observers believe that Oetker wants to strengthen the remaining business, which consists mainly of the €3 billion Food Division (frozen pizza, baking powder, cake mixes, yogurts, pudding, cake decoration and cornflakes) and the €2 billion Beer and Non-Alcoholic Beverages Division (Radeberger Group with brands like Radeberger, Schöfferhofer, Clausthaler, Berliner Pilsener and others, Selters Mineral Water, Pepsi, Bionade, Ti), the €0.7 billion Sparkling Wine, Wine and Spirits Division (Henkell, Fürst von Metternich, Deinhard, Wodka Gorbatschow, Kuemmerling, Fürst Bismarck and others).
One of the potential acquisition targets is Spain's biggest sparkling-wine maker Freixenet. Henkell & Co, a divion of Oetker involved in the production and distribution of sparkling wines, already last year submitted an offer of €255 million for 51% of the share for the faltering company (inside beer, 15.12.2016).