Maersk Group has agreed to sell Maersk Tankers to its largest shareholder, the foundation controlled by Maersk’s founding family, for $1.1 billion in cash.
“Maersk Tankers has served A.P. Moller-Maersk well for almost a century," said Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk (Maersk Group). "As former CEO of Maersk Tankers for more than 10 years, I recognise the importance of having an owner with a long-term market view in this industry, and this is why I am pleased that Maersk Tankers can continue to build on its strong name and position."
For Maersk Group, Skou said, the divestment frees up resources so that the conglomerate can focus on its core shipping, ports and logistics business lines. The firm's strategy calls for a gradual spin-off of its oil-related businesses.
Maersk Tankers has been a part of A.P. Moller-Maersk since 1928 and is one of the largest product tanker companies in the world, with a global footprint and 3,100 employees. The fleet consists of 161 product tankers of all sizes, including 80 owned vessels. The change will not be visible to observers of marine traffic, as the company will continue trading as “Maersk Tankers” using the familiar Maersk star logo.
The buyer, A.P. Moller Holding, is a subsidiary of the A.P. Møller Foundation, the charitable organization started by Maersk founder A.P. Møller in 1953. The subsidiary owns a controlling stake in Maersk Group, and the foundation is still family-run. Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller took over management after his father's death in 1965, and Maersk's daughter Ane Maersk Mc-Kinney Uggla succeeded him at the organization's helm in 2012.
In February, Uggla suggested that the foundation might begin to take on elements of Maersk's business. “Going forward, A.P. Møller Holding intends to own – partly or as a majority shareholder – several of the Maersk-related activities directly," she said. "This will not happen overnight but during the next few years, based on a process decided by the board of [Maersk Group]."
A.P. Møller Holding plans to share its ownership of Maersk Tanker's fleet with a consortium of other firms, including trading company Mitsui. A.P. Moller Holding will remain the company’s majority shareholder.