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Korean FTC conditionally okays Maersk’s HSDG buyout

MaerskSouth Korea’s antitrust watchdog on Monday approved the world’s No. 1 shipper MaerskLine’s $4 billion acquisition of industry’s seventh Hamburg Sud (HSDG) on condition that the German container carrier drops out of the shipping consortium on the trade routes connecting Asia and Central and South America.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) reviewed antitrust approval from Maersk in April after it acquired a full stake in the German shipper that is on the same dominant 2M Alliance in October last year, in compliance with Korean laws that require M&A consent for companies earning 20 billion won ($18.3 million) or more in revenue from Korea.

Maersk commands a 28.8 percent share and HSDG 4.5 percent in container capacity in the route between Far East and Central America/Caribbean.

The FTC noted the members currently on the same consortium as HSDG could join up with Maersk and disadvantage non-members. HSDG also was ordered not to extend its contract in the alliance on the sea route from the Far East Asia to the west coast of South America once it expires.

The FTC warned that it would press charges with the prosecution if its order is disobeyed. The shipper also could face fines tantamount to the period of incompliance and consolidation value.

The FTC cleared the way for the merged entity in eight other trade routes connecting Far East Asia to North America and Oceania.

Currently, Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine is a conditional member on the 2M under a strategic cooperation agreement instead of full-fledged alliance.

The Original Posted By Seok Min-soo and Kim Hyo-jin/Maeil Business

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