Chilean shipper Compania Sud Americana de Vapores VAP.SN said it was in merger talks with German container shipping company Hapag-Lloyd HPLG.UL, confirming a newspaper report.
In recent years, Vapores has faced steep losses as it grapples with lower shipping rates, high fuel prices and expensive leases, and has sought ways to become more competitive.
"In recent years Vapores has adopted a series of measures to confront the difficulties facing the shipping business, among these are the implementation of joint operations with other shippers and agreements to combine cargo," the Chilean company said in a statement.
"Vapores currently is in talks with diverse actors in the industry, including negotiations with German company Hapag-Lloyd" for a possible tie-up in the container-shipping business, it added.
No agreement has been reached yet, Vapores said.
Under the stewardship of the Luksic family, Chile’s richest, Vapores spun off its SAAM SAAM.SN storage and logistics unit in 2012 and has bought ships to replace those that were leased as part of a plan to reverse losses.
The Luksic family became Vapores’ majority shareholders in early 2012 when the company completed a $1.2 billion capital increase.