Leading German charter container ship owners Erck Rickmers and Komrowski today unveiled plans for a merger, creating the nation’s biggest vessel pool with 162 ships, including 120 box vessels, totaling 9.4 million tons.
The ship management operations of Rickmers’ shipowning unit ER Schiffahrt, and Komrowski Befrachtungskontor and the Blue Star Shipping Company, which is part of the Komrowski group, are being combined under a new company, Blue Star Holding.
The planned merger is expected to spur further consolidation among German ship owners, who control around 35 percent of the world’s container ship fleet, and are under pressure from tumbling charter rates.
The individual companies will retain their brand names.
The companies said the merger, which is subject to approval from competition authorities and the Komrowski Group’s banks, is scheduled to go ahead in the first quarter of 2012.
The companies said they plan to attract further shipowners as shareholders to create a fleet of between 200 and 250 ships.
“This alliance is the continuation of an old Hanseatic tradition: different companies pool their strengths in order to confront the challenge of a difficult market environment with a joint strategy,” said Ernst Peter Komrowski, owner of the Komrowski Group.
“Today’s banks and charterers are looking for efficient structures and an internationally experienced management team. This is something the new company can provide, also to other shipping companies,” said Nicholas Teller, CEO of E R Capital Holding.
Rickmers in one of the world’s biggest charter ship owners with 106 ships and newbuldings, including a series of 13,100 20-foot equivalent units vessels on order in South Korea. Komrowski has 56 ships, including the Blue Star fleet, acquired from A.P. Moller-Maersk in 2009, which has 11 8,400-TEU ships. It is also active in bulk and multipurpose shipping.
The companies said they will not comment further on details of the planned merger as negotiations are ongoing.
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