A.P. Moller-Maersk today announced it is selling the majority of its stake in Denmark’s largest supermarket chain in the latest move to divest non-core operations and focus on container shipping and energy.
The Danish conglomerate is selling 48.68 percent of Dansk Supermarked and 18.72 percent of department store chain F Salling to the firms’ co-owner The Stalling Companies. Maersk also has an option to sell its remaining stake in both companies after five years.
The Copenhagen-based group expects to book an accounting gain of 14 billion Danish kroner (about US$2.6 billion) depending on when it closes on the deal. Maersk said it will use the proceeds to reduce net debt as it does not have any acquisitions planned.
Maersk’s shares rose to a six year high following the announcement, which came a day after its tanker unit, Maersk Tankers, sold 15 very large crude carriers to Antwerp-based Euronav for $980 million.
A.P. Moller-Maersk CEO Nils Andersen said the company’s 20 percent stake in Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank, is not for sale, as it is a “strategic” investment.
Maersk has been slimming its portfolio in recent months, selling a gas tanker business, a 31 percent stake in Danish short sea and logistics company DFDS and ERS, its pan-European rail container operation. The company is focusing investments on Maersk Line, the world’s biggest ocean carrier, APM Terminals, Maersk Oil and Maersk Drilling, which were announced in 2012.