China International Marine Containers (CIMC) has acquired AP Møller-Maersk’s box manufacturing unit, Maersk Container Industry (MCI) for $1.08bn, including net debt.

The deal confirms CIMC as the world’s largest container producer.

The takeover, which includes MCI’s reefer factory in Qingdao, China, and research and test engineering facilities in Tinglev, Denmark, sees the Maersk group exit container manufacturing.

CIMC’s largest shareholder is state-owned conglomerate China Merchants Group, and other state-owned entities, such as CITIC and Cosco, give the government a controlling stake of more than 57%.

MCI had a net profit of $28.7m in 2020, up 11% year on year. Its 2,300 staff will become employees of CIMC upon closing, which is expected in or before 2022.

CIMC said, “We’re committed to seeking business opportunities and intend to acquire high-quality assets with good potential for expansion of our business in order to diversify our income stream and enhance shareholder value.

“In particular, given that MCI possesses the important technology and skills in the manufacturing and sale of refrigeration units, CIMC will be able to master the core refrigeration technology and enhance our core capabilities in the field of cold chain.”

It added that, medium term, it could increase revenue by offering customers an integrated service via collaborative sales of cold machines and cold containers. And, in the long run, CIMC could extend the refrigeration technology of marine cold equipment to its other logistics businesses, such as refrigerated cars and mobile cold storage.

CIMC has a global market share of 42% and sold a million teu of containers last year, amid a spike in demand. Since the 1990s, China has produced the most containers, its three largest manufacturers, CIMC, Cosco unit Dong Fang International Container and privately owned CXIC, have a combined market share of 82%.

Maersk’s sale of MCI was expected after announcing, on its Capital Markets Day in May, a strategic review of its container manufacturing business.

APMM CEO of fleet & strategic brands Henriette Hallberg Thygesen said, “We believe that in CIMC we have found a good long-term owner of MCI. The divestment is part of AP Møller-Maersk’s business transformation, where focus is on being an integrated container transport and logistics company, creating customer value across the entire supply chain.”

Source: The Loadstar