LONDON - The fate of Britain's two state-controlled banks will become clearer on Wednesday, when Chancellor George Osborne is likely to start the clock ticking for the sale of the government's stakes.
FRANKFURT - New solar installations reached a fresh record of 7.5 gigawatts (GW) in Germany in 2011, playing into the hands of advocates for steeper cuts in tariff subsidies to reduce growth of solar power and the resulting higher costs for consumers.
Hapag owner sees rival as ideal partner: report
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German shipping company Hamburg Sued would be an "ideal" merger partner to help vault rival Hapag-Lloyd into the top tier of shipping companies, a big shareholder in Hapag-Lloyd told Wirtschaftswoche magazine.
"Only a merger can hoist the shipper (Hapag) back into the lead group alongside Denmark's Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) and Switzerland's MSC," Klaus-Michael Kuehne told the magazine.
Kuehne is a leader of the Albert-Ballin consortium of investors, which holds nearly 78 percent of Hapag-Lloyd.
Hapag's other main shareholder is TUI AG (TUIGn.DE), with a stake of just over 22 percent.
Hamburg Sued is Germany's largest privately owned shipping company and part of the family owned conglomerate Oetker group.
Kuehne, who is also majority owner of Swiss logistics group Kuehne & Nagel (KNIN.VX), said he aimed to remain a long-term shareholder in Hapag after the shipper's initial public offering, planned for 2013.
If Hapag were to require a capital increase that would lead to a dilution of his stakeholding, Kuehne would increase his investment in the company to ensure he maintained a blocking minority stake of 25 percent, he said.
Kuehne said he had already reached an understanding to that effect with politicians in the city state of Hamburg, which is also part of the Albert-Ballin consortium.
"It is important to me to secure the long-term independence of the shipping company in Hamburg," Kuehne is quoted by the magazine as saying in a story released in advance of publication on Monday.
TUI, which also controls Europe's largest tour operator TUI Travel (TT.L), tried to float a stake in Hapag-Lloyd last year but the effort failed due to market turbulence in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In April, a source close to Hapag's owners told Reuters that Hapag was in no hurry to float. (Reporting by Jonathan Gould; Editing by Sophie Walker)
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