Maersk Seen Exercising Option for 10 More Huge Ships

Maersk said it would most likely exercise its option in June to order 10 more huge container ships to be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering at a cost of $1.9 billion.

The world’s largest container firm ordered ten 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit container ships in February with the option for another 20 similar vessels. Each vessel costs $190 million.

”The first decision will come in June and we do expect we will exercise that option for an additional 10,” Maersk Chief Executive Nils Andersen told reporters after an industry event in Singapore on Wednesday.

Maersk will decide later in the year whether to exercise the last option for 10 more mega ships.

A senior Maersk official in February said the option on the final 10 vessels was a long shot.

The new ships will add to Maersk Line’s current fleet of more than 600 vessels and help it keep its industry-leading market position.

The Triple-E class vessels, measuring 400 metres (1,312 feet) long, 59 metres wide and 73 metres tall, will be the world’s largest container ships.

They will be 16 percent bigger in capacity than the current largest ships in Maersk’s fleet, the E-class vessels.

Meanwhile, in Copenhagen Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk said the sales of its UK Netto Foodstores to Asda Stores had been completed with a lower gain than expected.

The sale of the Netto stores to Asda, the British arm of US retailer Wal-Mart, would generate an accounting gain for the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group of 4.3 billion Danish crowns ($834.1 million), which was 0.3 billion crowns less than earlier expected, the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

”The lower gain was due to divestment by Asda Stores Limited of 47 stores agreed with the Office of Fair Trading as a condition for regulatory approval of the transaction,” the group said.

An accumulated exchange rate loss of 0.5 billion crowns would also be recorded in the income statement, and the net effect for the group would amount to 3.8 billion in the second quarter.

The change in equity would amount to 4.3 billion crowns it said.

The sale had been depending on regulatory approval in the UK, which had now been fulfilled, the group said.

The stores were part of Dansk Supermarked, the group’s retail arm.

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