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China approves shipping merger

Updated: Dec 11,2015 8:14 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China’s cabinet has approved the merger of the country’s top two shipping conglomerates.

“With the approval of the State Council, the China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO) and the China Shipping (Group) Company (China Shipping) will be restructured,” the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said in a one-sentence statement.

The move will improve the competitive edge of major Chinese shipping lines by realizing economies of scale, as the global shipping industry faces a long-term downturn, according to a joint reply to Xinhua’s questions from the chairmen of the two companies.

“Both COSCO and China Shipping have struggled to be competitive, with overlapping investments, high costs, similar business operations and industrial chains,” said the reply from COSCO chief Ma Zehua and China Shipping’s Xu Lirong.

COSCO has an annual freight volume of over 400 million tonnes, with more than 700 ships whose total deadweight reaches 51 million tonnes. China Shipping has more than 530 ships with 36 million tonnes of deadweight.

This is the latest merger among China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

Since Dec 1, the SASAC has announced three amalgamations of centrally-administered SOEs. Earlier this week, it said China Minmetals Corporation, one of the country’s leading mining groups, will take over China Metallurgical Group Corporation.

China’s top two high-speed rail makers and its two leading nuclear power companies have already merged.