Neptune Orient Lines Nears Seven-Month High on Takeover Talks

  • NOL said it's in exclusive talks with France's CMA CGM
  • Global shipping companies struggling with declining prices

Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. surged to its highest in almost seven months in Singapore trading after Southeast Asia’s biggest container shipper confirmed it’s in exclusive talks to be acquired by France’s CMA CGM SA.

NOL shares rose by as much as 5.4 percent to S$1.18 on Monday, their highest intraday level since April 29. CMA CGM has until Dec. 7 to complete a due diligence review and negotiate the definitive agreements for the offer, Neptune Orient said in a statement Saturday. The Singapore-based liner is 67 percent-owned by state investment company Temasek Holdings Pte.

A deal would come at a time global shipping companies grapple with ways to revive earnings amid a glut of new vessels, shrinking demand and declining prices. Liners have idled about 5 percent of the global fleet, slashed costs, sold assets and cut employees in an attempt to stem years of losses as sluggish global growth and an over-supply of vessels eat into record low shipping rates.

Supply growth is expected to outpace demand for dry-bulk and tanker markets in 2016 and companies have been searching for ways to make money.

— With assistance by Clement Tan

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