Maersk narrows bidders for USD 1 billion refrigerated container unit

The next round of bidding has now commenced for Maersk's refrigerated container business, which could be valued at as much as USD 1 billion, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.

Photo: Maersk Container Industry/PR

China International Marine Containers Group Co. and Midea Group Co. are among suitors entering into the next round of bidding for A.P. Moller-Maersk's refrigerated container business, which could be valued at as much as USD 1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

US air conditioning giant Carrier Global Corp. and transport temperature-control systems manufacturer Thermo King Corp. are also proceeding into the second round, the people said. Japan's Daikin Industries Ltd. and buyout firm Triton were invited to submit offers as well, one of the people said.

Maersk plans to collect binding bids by late July, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Deliberations are ongoing and the companies could decide against making any offers, they added.

A deal could help Carrier, Daikin and Thermo King in expanding their temperature-controlled container manufacturing business, while Chinese household appliance giant Midea has been looking to diversify into new areas. The company acquired German robotics company Kuka AG in 2017.

Triton, which primarily invests in European countries and focuses on the industrial, business services, consumer and health care sectors, has raised EUR 15.6 billion (USD 19 billion) since its inception in 1997, according to its website.

Strategic Review

A potential disposal would come as Maersk conducts a strategic review of its ownership of refrigerated container manufacturing unit Maersk Container Industry. It announced the review in May, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report.

Founded in 1991, MCI manufactures refrigerated containers and refrigeration machines for the intermodal freight industry. The chilled containers are used in the transportation of fruit, vegetables, medicines and other perishables

The unit has benefited from the strong demand for its containers during the coronavirus pandemic, with lockdowns clogging global trade routes and upending flows of refrigerated storage. MCI reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of USD 25 million in the first quarter this year, a jump from USD 14 million from the same period last year, according to Maersk’s latest financial report.

MCI has around 2,200 employees and a network of more than 400 service providers, according to its website. The company is headquartered in Denmark and has its production facilities in China.

A representative for Maersk reiterated the strategic review for MCI is ongoing and will comment further at a later stage of the process. Representatives for Daikin and Trane Technologies Plc, the parent company of Thermo King, declined to comment. Representatives for CIMC, Carrier, Midea and Triton didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Maersk Container Industry produced 2,000 fewer containers in February and March  

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