For the port logistics company HHLA, the controversial Chinese participation in a terminal in the port of Hamburg is as good as done, but for the potential partner Cosco it is far from over. "We can confirm that factual, constructive talks between Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), CSPL and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) succeeded in agreeing on concrete prerequisites for CSPL to participate in HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort GmbH," said an HHLA spokeswoman on Friday in Hamburg. The final details are now being clarified so that the transaction can be completed promptly.
The statements by the HHLA spokeswoman were also preceded by a mandatory notification from Cosco Shipping Ports Ltd. on Friday. (CSPL) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Accordingly, Cosco sees the matter not nearly as advanced. Work had been done on the requirements for meeting the no-objection requirements and on completing the transaction. However, there is no assurance "that the transaction will take place or when it can take place". At the same time, Cosco advised shareholders and potential investors to exercise caution when trading in the company's securities.
agreed not to disclose contractual content
Cosco originally wanted to take over 35 percent of the operating company of Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT) GmbH and, in return, upgrade the terminal to become the preferred transhipment point in Europe. However, under the impact of recent experiences with Russia and dependence on its gas supplies, a fierce political dispute erupted over the question of whether Chinese participation should be allowed. Against this background, the federal government finally decided on a so-called partial prohibition, which only allows the acquisition of shares below 25 percent. Any further acquisition above this threshold was prohibited.
According to HHLA, in October the Cosco Group, which has had the ships of its fourth-largest container shipping company in the world handled at the CTT for around 40 years, and HHLA reached an agreement on the specified minority stake. Confidentiality was agreed on the contractual content. However, details of the agreement should actually have been clarified by the end of last year.
According to HHLA, the Hamburg port logistics company will retain sole control over all key decisions if it has a stake in Cosco, and Cosco will not receive any exclusive rights to the terminal. In addition, Cosco does not have access to strategic know-how, IT and sales data. Shipping company participations in port terminals are not uncommon. For example, the shipping company Hapag-Loyd already has interests in terminals in Tangier and Hamburg, while the terminal operator of the world's largest shipping company MSC claims to have interests in 40 terminals worldwide.