Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines has said that it has neither decided on selling itself nor made any agreement with a potential buyer.
In a filing to the Singapore Exchange just before midnight on 19 July, NOL said, “The company is focused on returning its core liner business to sustainable growth and profitability.”
NOL, the parent of liner operator APL, said its balance sheet is now stronger after selling APL Logistics earlier this year and has invested in 32 modern vessels as part of measures to streamline costs.
NOL was responding to a Wall Street Journal report on 17 July that its major shareholder Temasek Holdings has invited offers for its 65% stake.
Hong Kong’s OOCL and Germany’s Hapag Lloyd have been named as potential buyers.
Speculation that NOL would sell itself grew after the APL Logistics sale. At the time, NOL CEO Ng Yat Chung said the company’s priority was to restore profitability in its liner shipping business and it did not have the resources to grow the logistics and liner shipping businesses together.
NOL continued, “The company has a duty to consider its options to maximize shareholder value as part of its conduct of normal business. The company hasn’t made any decision with respect to and hasn’t entered into any agreement for a potential sale of the company.”
NOL said it is not certain that it would be sold and that shareholders should be cautious when dealing with the company’s stocks.
NOL’s stocks are now trading at SGD0.945 (USD0.69) after rising to SGD0.965 when trading opened on 20 July.