92.30% – MSC and city reach target for HHLA deal

At the end of the offer period, MSC and the City of Hamburg hold a good 92% of the share capital. This will enable a squeeze-out of the remaining shareholders.

A shareholding of at least 90% is necessary in order to gain access to the remaining shares in HHLA that are still in free float. With a squeeze-out, the remaining shareholders can now be forced out of the company in return for compensation.

The aim of the deal between the City of Hamburg and the container shipping company, which was announced at the end of October, is to jointly bring HHLA completely under their control. The agreement negotiated between the Senate and Gianluigi Aponte’s company stipulates that the city will retain a wafer-thin majority of 50.1%, while the world’s number one liner shipping company will hold 49.9% of the shares in future.

Announcing the new “strategic partnership”: Finance Senator Andreas Dressel, MSC CEO Søren Toft, First Mayor Peter Tschentscher and Economics Senator Melanie Leonhard

MSC had offered € 16.75 per HHLA share

MSC had offered existing shareholders € 16.75 per so-called A-share. As of December 7, 7,325,366 shares had been tendered as part of the takeover bid – corresponding to 9.74% of the share capital. In addition, 12.21% of HHLA shares were acquired on the market. Together with the A and S shares held by the City of Hamburg (70.35%), the joint venture partners now hold a total of 92.30%.

“Now that the acceptance period for the independent shareholders has expired, our focus as the Executive Board is on finalizing the merger agreement between the City of Hamburg, MSC and HHLA,” said Angela Titzrath, CEO of the terminal operator.

The closing of the transaction remains subject to certain regulatory approvals and the approval of the City of Hamburg. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2024.

MSC promises investments and more containers

The two future partners had already pledged to strengthen HHLA’s equity by a total of € 450 million in order to be able to make important investments. A further € 775 million is to be made available in the years 20025 to 2028.

MSC intends to expand its German headquarters in Hamburg and employ 500 to 700 people there. create new jobs. The shipping company also promises to roughly double its container throughput to around 1 million TEU by 2030 compared to today.

“The world’s largest shipping company is thus making a firm and long-term commitment to the Port of Hamburg.
The integration into a further global network will generate additional throughput
and also make a contribution to the development of the port”

Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs Melanie Leonhard

The Senate as well as the Executive Board and Supervisory Board of HHLA had already backed the project. Many HHLA employees, however, oppose the deal, primarily out of concern for jobs and co-determination within the company. The joint venture partners counter this with the fact that significant commitments have been made for the employees. For example, compulsory redundancies have been ruled out for at least five years.

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Caption: Container handling in the Port of Hamburg (Photo: HHM)