Hamburg Senate Green lights MSC-HHLA Deal

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  • The senate in Hamburg has agreed to the sale of 49.9% of HHLA-Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG to the Swiss MSC logistics group. The city will maintain a 50.1% holding.
  • MSC will establish its German headquarters in Hamburg and set new targets for container (TEU) handling.

MSC is one step closer to obtaining a 49.9% share in Hamburg terminal operator HHLA after the city’s senate officially approved the investment deal, reports the Loadstar.

The final stage of the process is to obtain the green light from the city’s parliament, due to have a hearing at the end of the month.

In the coming days, the members of the Hamburg parliament will be given an insight into the details of the contract and, in two weeks, the topic will be discussed for the first time in parliament. At this meeting, Mayor Peter Tschentscher will make a government statement,” reported logistics publication DVZ (Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung).

Green light for MSC-HHLA deal

The deal will also be examined by the Economic Affairs, Budget and Public Enterprise committees and German competition regulators, but ultimately, the Hamburg parliament must approve the entry of the Italian shipping company.

HHLA (Hamburger Hafen und Logistik) is currently joint-owned by MSC and the City of Hamburg, between them controlling just over 93% of the shares, allowing them to “squeeze out” remaining shareholders. After the deal goes through, they will together own 100% of HHLA, with MSC holding 49.9% and Hamburg 50.1%.

MSC and the municipality then plan to inject €450m into HHLA’s equity, which will be invested in terminal infrastructure. In addition, MSC has committed to transferring some 1m teu of container volumes a year into Hamburg, as well as transferring its German HQ to the city.

There has, however, been considerable opposition to the deal from port workers and unions including ver.di, which has said: “Ver.di fundamentally rejects the sale of HHLA shares and thus the sale of public property to private investors.” However, the union said that discussions with Senators Andreas Dressel and Melanie Leonhard last year established that a majority share in HHLA would remain with the city, and no redundancies would occur as a result of the deal.

The union’s deputy chair, Christine Behle, said: “The fact that the agreements with MSC have a minimum duration of 40 years means that long-term planning security can be achieved. Now, however, a collective bargaining agreement must urgently be concluded between ver.di and HHLA, which also regulates entitlements for employees in a binding manner.”

DVZ reported that a protest action had been announced for Wednesday next week in front of HHLA’s headquarters in the Speicherstadt.

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Source: The Loadstar