Chile's Vapores shareholders approve Hapag-Lloyd business tie-up
SANTIAGO, March 21 (Reuters) - Shareholders of Chilean shipper Compania SudAmericana de Vapores on Friday approved an agreement that combines its container-shipping operations with those of Germany's Hapag-Lloyd, though dissident stakeholders could still kill the deal in the next month.
Vapores has agreed to take a 30 percent stake in Hapag-Lloyd, making it the single largest shareholder in the German firm and creating the world's fourth-largest container-shipping company.
Nearly 85 percent of Vapores' shareholders voted to approve the tie-up.
However, according to the terms of the deal, if more than 5 percent of Vapores' total shareholders exercise withdrawal rights within the next 30 days, the deal will be annulled.
Fewer than 1 percent voted against the transaction, said Vapores Chief Executive Oscar Hasbun.
"We hope that on April 20 we can confirm that fewer than 5 percent of withdrawal rights were exercised and as such, the negotiation with Hapag-Lloyd can continue its course," he said.
Shareholders also gave Vapores - which is controlled by the Luksic family, Chile's wealthiest - the green light for a $200 million capital increase to help finance the purchase of seven container ships from Samsung Heavy Industries. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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