HAMBURG, Aug 26 (Reuters) - German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd expects to reap a third of targeted annual synergies of $400 million from the planned merger with Arab rival UASC already next year, chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen told investors on Friday.
Addressing a shareholders meeting which will decide on approval for a related capital increase, he said that full synergies would come to play in 2019.
"We plan to realise the full synergies from 2019 and in that way to lower our costs permanently," he said.
Hapag-Lloyd signed a binding agreement with UASC in July to form the world's fifth largest shipping company by the end of 2016 aiming at greater scale and to battle a global shipping downturn.
He also affirmed significantly lower earnings before interest and taxes for 2016. The company posted a first-half operating loss earlier this month on dismal freight rates, which the CEO has said will take between 18 and 24 months to recover. (Reporting by Vera Eckert; Editing by Maria Sheahan)