The German city of Hamburg appointed Juergen Weber as chairman of Hapag-Lloyd AG, the world’s fifth- largest container line, as the port-town raises its stake in the shipping company.
Weber, the supervisory-board chairman of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, will replace TUI Chief Executive Officer Michael Frenzel as chairman of Hapag-Lloyd’s supervisory board in June, the city said in a statement today. Weber’s term will last three years, and then Hapag-Lloyd Chief Executive Officer Michael Behrendt is willing to succeed him, Hamburg said.
The world’s largest container lines, including A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S (MAERSKB), CMA CGM SA and Hapag-Lloyd, all posted losses last year because of soaring fuel expenses, overcapacity and a price war on routes between Asia and Europe. As chairman of Lufthansa, Europe’s second-largest airline, Weber has experience in a similar industry.
“With his long-lasting responsibility for Deutsche Lufthansa, Weber has a special understanding of the transport market,” Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz said in the statement.
Hapag-Lloyd has “a good chance” of being successful in the future, Weber said at a press conference in Hamburg’s 19th century town hall today. While an initial public offering is “definitely” possible, there may also be other options, Weber said. It is “all open,” Weber added.
Behrendt will remain CEO of Hapag-Lloyd until June 2014 after agreeing to extend his contract by one year to give the company enough time to find a successor, according to the statement. Behrendt would take over as supervisory board chairman in mid-2015.
TUI AG (TUI1), owner of Europe’s largest travel company, is selling a 17.4 percent stake in Hapag-Lloyd to investor group Albert Ballin for 475 million euros ($624 million) to focus on tourism. Hamburg is part of the group, which will own about 78 percent of the shipping company after the deal. The city’s stake in Hapag-Lloyd will rise to 36.9 percent from 23.6 percent.
Hapag-Lloyd had a loss of 28.8 million euros last year, compared with a profit in 2010.
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