UASC stands to benefit most by NOL purchase - analysts
United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) has been singled out as a potential buyer of the troubled shipping line Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), which is to be sold by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings.
According to analysts, the carrier, which has made a loss of US $1-billion over the last four years, represents an opportunity for shipping lines with financial clout to aquire a modern fleet with a 2.8% market share of global container trade.
The shipping line will reportedly be offered for US $2-billion, which analysts say is well below its market value due to the timing of the sale, during a severe prolonged downturn for the global container shipping industry.
The global sector's debt has nearly doubled to $86 billion over the past decade, Rahul Kapoor, Singapore director of Drewry Equity Research told Reuters, with spot Asia to Europe and transpacific container freight rates near six-year lows.
Industry sources say Qatar-owned United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) can be expected to join the likes of Germany's Hapag-Lloyd AG HOLG.UL and Hamburg Sud in considering a purchase of NOL.
UASC is currently undertaking one of the most ambitious expansion programs in the industry, with eleven newbuild 15,000-teu and six 18,800-teu vessels scheduled to be fully delivered by 2016. This year, UASC will receive a total of 10 new vessels.
The Middle East shipping line declined to comment. This is not the first time the shipping line has been at the centre of rumours of a carrier acquisition. In May it was reported that the line may be considering a purchase of embattled APL Line.