In a strategic move reflecting the challenging landscape of the container industry, AP Moller Maersk has successfully sold its remaining investment in Norway’s Höegh Autoliners ASA, garnering DKK 1.8 billion (USD 260 million) in proceeds. The sale involved offloading 20 million shares, constituting 10.48% of the share capital and corresponding voting rights, at a rate of NOK 90 per share.
This transaction signifies Maersk’s full withdrawal from Höegh Autoliners, a decision undertaken without public commentary from the Danish conglomerate. The move comes on the heels of Maersk’s container shipping division reporting an operating loss of USD 27 million in the third quarter. The company has issued warnings of potentially challenging conditions in 2024 unless there is a substantial improvement in fourth-quarter rates. As part of its cost-cutting measures, Maersk has announced the layoff of approximately 10,000 employees between 2023 and 2024.
This recent divestment follows Maersk’s earlier sale of 13.5 million shares in Höegh in March, where shares were traded at a lower rate of NOK 61 each. Notably, Maersk had been an equity holder in Höegh since 2008, a position acquired as part of a deal involving the sale of 18 car carriers to the Norwegian company. Holding a 37.5% share, Maersk had been the second-largest shareholder in Höegh Autoliners after Leif Hoegh & Co.
The industry will be closely monitoring Maersk’s strategic decisions amid the evolving dynamics of the container shipping sector and its broader implications for the global maritime trade.