BERLIN, Dec 10 (Reuters) - TUI AG is optimistic it will be able to sell its stake in Hapag-Lloyd via an initial public offering of the shipping company, although the market environment is not the best at present, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
Hapag-Lloyd is merging with Chilean peer Compania Sud Americana de Vapores but said last week an IPO was not a top priority.
"Their motivation to float is huge," TUI AG CEO Friedrich Joussen said on Wednesday after the group reported annual results. "They need to have access to the capital markets or they won't be able to buy the ships they want."
Hapag-Lloyd has said it will consider adding mega container ships to its fleet to boost competitiveness.
TUI AG owns a 22 percent stake in Hapag-Lloyd, which is classed as 'held for sale'. TUI values it in its books at 467 million euros ($578.75 million), which Joussen described as 'conservative'.
$1 = 0.8069 euros Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Kirsti Knolle