Hamburg lawmakers approved a $562 million investment in Hapag-Lloyd that makes the city state the biggest shareholder in the German ocean container carrier.
The governing Social Democrats and their left wing allies held off opposition from the Christian Democrats and Greens to an increase in the port city’s stake in Hapag-Lloyd to 36.9 percent from 22.1 percent.
The purchase of the latest tranche of shares will take the city state’s total investment in the Hamburg-based carrier to nearly $1.5 billion.
The city is acquiring the stake from tourism group TUI, whose holding is shrinking to 22 percent after it also sold a 3.6 percent stake to logistics billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuehne. He now owns 28.2 percent of the world’s fourth largest carrier.
TUI plans to dispose of its remaining stake via an initial public offering, scheduled for June, or through a sale to third party investors.
Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz said the increased stake would ensure one of the city’s most prominent companies would not fall into the “wrong” hands, a thinly veiled reference to foreign investors.
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The city state originally invested in Hapag-Lloyd in 2008 via the Hamburg-based Albert Ballin consortium to thwart a bid by Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines.