Chinese transport conglomerate China Merchants Group (CMG) is in talks to acquire logistics group Sinotrans & CSC in the latest deal in the country's state sector, financial magazine Caixin Online reported, quoting an executive from China Merchants Group as saying that his company is working on a deal that could involve a buyout of Sinotrans & CSC Holdings Co. Ltd.
Merchants Group is a leading Chinese government-owned conglomerate based in Hong Kong, which currently has three main business sectors of Transport (ports, roads, energy shipping, logistics,
ship-repairing, marine engineering), Finance (banks, securities, funds, insurances), and Property (zones development, real estate).
Sinotrans & CSC Holdings is a major logistics provider offering freight forwarding, express services, shipping, storage, marine transportation, and trucking services throughout China. The company operates four companies: Sinotrans Limited, Sinotrans Shipping, Changjiang Shipping Group Phoenix, and Nanjing Water Transport Industry.
The two Hong Kong-listed units of Sinotrans & CSC - Sinotrans and Sinotrans Shipping - informed the Hong Kong stock exchange last week that their parent group was considering a strategic re-organisation that involved another unnamed state-owned enterprise.
Beijing gives thumbs-up for mergers of state-owned companies
Caixin said at the end of 2014, China Merchants had total assets worth 624.16 billion yuan (US$97.9 billion) while Sinotrans & CSC had 109.12 billion yuan, making China Merchants the bigger player of the two.
The move comes as the Chinese government is encouraging restructuring and mergers among state-owned enterprises, including the country's airlines.
In June this year, a senior director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying that China's three largest cargo carriers - China Cargo Airlines (a division of China Eastern Airlines based in Hongqiao), Air China Cargo and the cargo division of China Southern Airlines in Guangzhou would merge their activities.
However, the report was subsequently denied by senior management of the three carriers.
Nol van Fenema
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