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Lloyd’s List’s peerless Janet Porter talks to those in the know about the ongoing talks between Hamburg Sud and Hapag-Lloyd over a possible merger. The key point of the negotiations appears to be over which party will take a majority shareholding, with an emerging consensus that the privately owned Hamburg Sud (part of the Oetkar empire, founded on the frozen pizza market) holds the aces, despite being the smaller of the two lines. It is debt-free, compared with Hapag-Lloyd’s €1.8bn overdraft, and observers predict that if a deal is pulled off, it could result in a new wave of consolidation activity across container shipping.

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