Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) has secured the vote of confidence for its entry into Hamburg HHLA from HHLA´s executive board and supervisory board.

MSC is making an offer for 49.9% stake in Hamburg HHLA. The world´s largest container line MSC intends to acquire all free-floating A-Shares of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) and announced its intention to launch a voluntary public takeover offer.

HHLA is to be operated as a strategic joint venture, with the City of Hamburg holding a stake of 50.1% and MSC ultimately holding a stake of 49.9%.

The executive board and the supervisory board of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA) have recommended to the shareholders to accept the takeover offer.

As it is revealed by HHLA, both boards have carefully and comprehensively analysed the financial adequacy of the consideration offered and, they consider the offer price of €16.75 per Class A share to be adequate.

MSC, the City of Hamburg and HHLA have signed a binding preliminary framework agreement foregoing a business combination agreement (BCA), on key aspects related to securing HHLA and its business model in the long term.

In the coming weeks, individual points of the business combination agreement (BCA) that have not yet been finalised in the binding preliminary framework agreement, will be worked out in further discussions.

MSC’s offer ends on November 20, and the closing of the transaction is subject to certain regulatory approvals and the approval of the parliament of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

The intention of MSC is to substantially increase its container volume at HHLA terminals in Hamburg, beginning in 2025 and raising it to at least 1,000,000 teu per year from 2031 onwards.

In addition, MSC will establish its new German headquarters with several hundred employees in Hamburg. Furthermore, MSC and the City of Hamburg also agree to commit on a long-term investment plan to be developed in alignment with HHLA.

The deal would also see MSC expand its terminal portfolio. Through its subsidiary Terminal Investments Limited (TiL) MSC operates 70 terminals across the world, including terminals in Antwerp, Singapore, and Rotterdam.

However, MSC’s entry into the Hamburg HHLA is causing uncertainty in Bremerhaven.

Experts say that this acquisition is expected to have a domino effect, with Bremerhaven potentially losing out.

Hundreds of people demonstrated recently against the planned partial sale of the HHLA Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG to the Geneva-based container line MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company.

It was a loud protest with the demonstrators chanting: “Our port – not your casino!”

Angela Titzrath, chief executive officer of HHLA, said: “This gives us considerable additional resources to drive forward HHLA’s successful development into a leading European logistics company even more actively and rapidly, opening up significant development and business opportunities – for HHLA, our stakeholders and for Hamburg. We have also managed to secure important commitments for our employees.”

Prof Dr Rüdiger Grube, chairman of HHLA’s supervisory board, added: “With the agreements reached, we are securing the future viability of HHLA and its business model. As the offer price is deemed adequate following our review, the HHLA Supervisory Board and the Executive Board recommend accepting the offer from MSC.”