Maersk CEO Sees No Need to Sell Danske Stake as Cash Piles Up

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A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S won’t sell its remaining Danske Bank A/S shares now because it doesn’t need the extra cash, Chief Executive Officer Nils Smedegaard Andersen said in an interview.

Maersk still owns about 16.2 million Danske shares, which were left over after the shipping conglomerate earlier this year started divesting its holding in Denmark’s largest lender. The stake is worth about 3.45 billion kroner ($515 million) at Danske’s current price, which is about 15 percent higher than at the end of March when Maersk sold 186 million of the shares, mainly to its own holding company.

“We can sell them at any time when we think we need the cash,” Andersen said on Thursday by phone. While the shares still are held for sale, Maersk “has a very healthy capital structure at the moment” and is not currently preparing a sale, Andersen said.

Maersk said on Thursday it will buy back about $1 billion in its own stock after second-quarter cash flow from operating activities rose 1.6 percent to $1.78 billion.

Andersen declined to say whether any institutional investors had approached Maersk seeking to buy the Danske shares. Maersk isn’t under any obligation to sell them to A.P. Moeller Holding A/S, which already owns about 20 percent of Danske, he said.

“The Danske Bank shares are something we see as liquid reserves,” the CEO said.