A.P. Moller-Maersk has disposed of its ownership interest in DFDS, a Copenhagen-based short-sea shipping company.
DFDS Seaways operates a network of 30 routes in Europe with 50 freight and
passenger ships. DFDS Logistics provides freight and logistics services
in Europe with trailers, containers, and rail.
Maersk had acquired nearly a third of DFDS in 2009 when it sold Norfolkline to the company. Norfolkline was a leading ferry and logistics company with a strong route network covering the North Sea, English Channel and Irish Sea, while DFDS was strong in the Baltic Sea and North Sea.
DFDS said Friday that Mærsk informed it that its shareholding in
the company has been reduced from 31.3 percent to zero after the sale of 4,657,365
shares. DFDS itself purchased 1,782,730 shares from Mærsk, equivalent to 12 percent of
the total shares issued in DFDS for 628.4 million Danish krone ($110.5 million). DFDS intends to cancel the majority of the purchased shares at its next ordinary annual general meeting, except for shares for its incentive program.
The Lauritzen Foundation also informed DFDS that its shareholding in DFDS has increased from 36.3 percent to 38.3 percent after purchase of 300,000 shares.
Maersk remains a major player in the European short sea market through its Seago Line subsidiary. Seago operates 75 container vessels in North Europe and the Mediterranean and says it "furthermore has direct access to an extensive network of vessels operated by partner lines and sister companies."
A Maersk spokesman said the company does not care to be involved in the passenger business and noted the company "said all along that it is not a long-term shareholder in DFDS. Maersk saw interest from institutional investors and DFDS themselves, so it believed that now was a good time for to sell."
“As we have said earlier, we have been interested in selling our stake in DFDS, when the timing was right. This is in line with our continued portfolio optimization,” said Trond Westlie, the group chief financial officer. - Chris Dupin