Danish ferry operator DFDS has confirmed it is to acquire Dutch-based ferry and logistics company Norfolkline following clearance from the European Commission (EC).
The deal had originally been mooted in December 2009, with Danish shipping and oil group AP Moller agreeing to sell the debt-free company for €346 million.
Following the EC decision the transaction can now be completed, with DFDS also boosting the estimate for expected synergies between the two companies.
However, as part of the deal the EC has asked DFDS to replace its existing space charter agreement on the routes between Esbjerg-Immingham/Harwich with Norfolkline with an agreement with an independent party.
The Danish company has complied with the requirement and has signed a deal with Swedish ferry operator Stena Line AB - pending approval by the EC.
DFDS will now proceed with the previously announced share issues - a rights issue of some DKK550 million and a private placement to Maersk corresponding to an ownership share of 28.2 per cent.
After having prepared a detailed integration plan for Norfolkline, DFDS has increased the estimate for the annual cost synergies to DKK180m-220m from the previous estimate of DKK135m.
The increase is mainly due to higher synergies related to logistics, procurement and integration of group functions.
The integration will be completed by the end of 2012 and the related costs and investments are expected to total DKK175m-200m.
DFDS has not yet calculated the potential growth in revenues and earnings.
Following the acquisition, the combined company will consist of two market-oriented divisions - shipping and logistics.
The shipping division will comprise freight and passenger routes, as well as port terminals, while the logistics division will comprise trailer and logistics activities, as well as container and sideport activities.
The executive board of DFDS will remain unchanged, with Niels Smedegaard as chief executive and Torben Carlsen as chief finance officer.
The members of the executive management are expected to be announced shortly.