Hapag-Lloyd and UASC have mutually agreed to delay the finalization of their merger until May 31.
The merger will create a combined company worth about seven to eight billion euros ($7.5 to $8.6 billion). It would be the world's fifth largest shipping firm, with access to the Asia-to-Europe trade route and trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific routes.
The companies had originally envisaged to close the transaction by March 31. All merger clearances, authority approvals and banking approvals have been obtained and the merger parties are arranging the final documentation for a closing of the business combination. However, the final preparations for the closing have taken more time than expected. The transaction itself is not at any risk, say the companies.
This is not the first delay to the merger. The deal was expected to close by November 2016, but financing difficulties meant it was delayed until 2017.
Irrespective of the actual closing date, THE Alliance will start its operation as of April 1, 2017 including all vessels as planned. THE Alliance announced details of their proposed product in November last year. THE Alliance plans to deploy a fleet of more than 240 modern ships in the Asia/Europe, North Atlantic and Trans-Pacific trade lanes including the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf/Red Sea.
Member carriers are Hapag-Lloyd, K Line, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen Kaisha and Yang Ming.