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German railways mulling takeover of major shipping line

Deutsche Bahn, the government-owned German railways company, is mulling a takeover bid for TUI, a German holidays and shipping company that owns the world’s fifth largest container-shipping business, a newspaper reported.

The Financial Times Deutschland in its Thursday edition said that only the topmost management of Deutsche Bahn was aware the huge merger was under consideration. Bidders have already been circling to snatch the TUI travel unit and Hapag-Lloyd, which could both be merged with competitors to create a mega-company. Neptune Orient Lines, the state-owned Singapore shipping line, has been often rated a bidder for Hapag-Lloyd.

The newspaper said some figures at Bahn, which is also a major road transport group and has key stakes in the ferry business, argued that the Hapag-Lloyd merchant-shipping fleet must stay in German hands. The paper said corporate heads had not intended to inform Chancellor Angela Merkel about the idea until next week, after her supporters approve plans to sell one quarter of Bahn to private investors. (m&