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Maersk has closed its acquisition of Hamburg Süd after it cleared the final regulatory approval with Korea’s Fair Trade Commission go-ahead.

The purchase had to gain regulatory approval in 23 jurisdictions, the Korean decision coming almost a year after the acquisition was announced.

Maersk Line will acquire Hamburg Süd for €3.7bn on a cash and debt-free basis, with the deal financed through a syndicated loan facility.

Chief executive of the Danish carrier Soren Skou said the deal’s approval was an “important” milestone in Maersk’s strategy to become an integrated transport and logistics company.

“These are truly exciting times and we are looking forward to taking the first steps forward as one company,” said Mr Skou. “Hamburg Süd is an outstanding, high-quality brand, and by combining our businesses we will reinforce the global positions of both companies and enhance our services.”

Together, the carriers will make up 19.3% of the world fleet – with 105 Hamburg Süd vessels joining Maersk’s 668 – to provide container capacity of 4.15m teu.

Maersk said the combined companies would be able to realise operational synergies in the region of $350m to $400m from 2019.

Once the transfer of ownership is complete, Ottmar Gast will step down as chairman of Hamburg Süd to become chairman of its new supervisory board.

Mr Gast will be joined on the board by AP Møller Maersk chief operating officer Soren Toft, while Arnt Vespermann has been appointed Hamburg Süd’s chief executive.

“Becoming part of the world’s number one shipping company will create a lot of opportunities,” said Mr Vespermann. “We will strengthen Hamburg Süd and grow our market share together, while at the same time, Hamburg Süd will continue serving our customers as a separate brand.”

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