* Incoming chairman sees IPO at end-2015
* Eyes potential partnership with Asian shipping company
* Makes comments to German newspaper (Adds comment on Asian partnership)
FRANKFURT, July 2 (Reuters) - German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd’s designated Chairman Michael Behrendt said he was confident that market conditions would support plans for an initial public offering (IPO) at the end of next year, according to a German newspaper.
“There are signals coming from orders for ships and from demand. They indicate that the gap between supply and demand will close in the foreseeable future, or that it will at least be small enough to allow us to speak of decent market conditions,” Behrendt told daily Boersen-Zeitung in an interview published on Wednesday.
“I believe we will find the necessary conditions (for an IPO) at the end of 2015, which is when we aim to float,” he said.
Hapag-Lloyd and Chilean rival Vapores earlier this year agreed to a tie-up that creates the world’s fourth-largest shipping group and includes a flotation in 2015.
The deal was seen as giving TUI AG an opportunity to exit its 22 percent stake in Hapag-Lloyd.
Behrendt also said Hapag-Lloyd would look for potential shipping partners in Asia in the next round of consolidation in the container shipping business.
“In the next consolidation step an Asian partner could be more interesting,” he said, when asked whether German rival Hamburg Sued could become Hapag Lloyd’s partner now that a tie-up with Vapores has been agreed.
Behrendt was Hapag-Lloyd’s chief executive until last month and is due to take over as supervisory board chairman in the autumn. (Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Marilyn Gerlach, editing by Louise Heavens)