Hapag-Lloyd Ups Bond Size as Investors Gamble on Shipping Upturn

  • 250 million euro-note first bond by German carrier since 2014
  • Hapag stock has gained 53 percent in last three months

Hapag-Lloyd AG boosted the volume of its first bond sale since 2014 by 100 million euros ($94 million) as investors showed heightened demand for the high-yield notes, speculating that global container shipping may finally see a recovery following eight years of crisis.

Germany’s No. 1 container shipping line, seen to close a merger with Mid-East carrier United Arab Shipping Co in the coming weeks, will sell 250 million euros of unsecured notes at a yield of around 7 percent, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Of the proceeds of the five-year bond nearly 120 million euros will be used to fully redeem an outstanding dollar bond due this autumn, while the rest will help the liner to cut debt, Hapag-Lloyd said in a statement confirming the upsizing reported by Bloomberg earlier on Wednesday. Chief Executive Officer Rolf Habben Jansen said last year that debt will nearly double to $7.1 billion following its merger with UASC, while recent investments by the Mid-East carrier in large vessels will keep capital expenditure at the combined entity to a minimum in the next couple of years.

The company has hired Berenberg Bank, Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse Group AG as global coordinators for its sale, which was due to price later on Wednesday. HSH Nordbank AG, ING Groep NV and M.M. Warburg & Co. are acting as joint bookrunners on the deal.

Container shipping has suffered from overcapacity of vessels in recent years as new, larger ships ordered before the crisis entered the global fleet, while trade slowed. High vessel scrapping rates, low order levels and a raft of mergers and acquisitions in 2016 have however improved sentiment in the market. The Hapag-Lloyd stock, listed in November 2015, has gained 53 percent in the last three months, making it a top-performer in Germany’s small-cap SDAX index. Shares of A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the owner of the world’s top container carrier Maersk Line, surged 21 percent in the same period.

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