FRANKFURT, Dec 13 (Reuters) - TUI AG is in talks with investors interested in buying its stake in Hapag-Lloyd as an option in its long-planned exit from the German shipping company, TUI's chairman told a newspaper.
"We are working on a sensible, profitable solution for the exit," Klaus Mangold told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in an interview released ahead of publication on Sunday.
A sale of the stake to investors is one possibility and an exit via Hapag-Lloyd's planned initial public offering "possibly in the second half of 2015" was another, Mangold said.
"There are interested parties with whom we are talking at the moment but we are in no rush because there is no financial need for a quick exit from Hapag-Lloyd," Mangold said.
TUI owns a 22 percent stake in Hapag-Lloyd, which is classed as 'held for sale' and valued in TUI's books at 467 million euros ($582 million).
However, the stake is set to shrink to 13.9 percent by the end of this year as Hapag-Lloyd carries out a 370 million euro capital increase following the completion of its merger with Chilean peer Vapores earlier this month, a move that has created the world's fourth largest shipping group.
TUI's chief financial officer in August said TUI could opt for either a sale or a flotation of the stake, "whichever comes first at a decent price".
TUI has long been looking to exit container shipping in order to focus fully on tourism.
$1 = 0.8026 euros Reporting by Jonathan Gould; Editing by Stephen Powell