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Singapore's Temasek, TUI in Shipping Merger Talks: FT

Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and German shipping and tourism group TUI are in talks to merge their shipping operations, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday,citing unnamed sources.

Temasek could put its 68 percent stake in Neptune Orient Lines into TUI unit Hapag-Lloyd and take a share of TUI, giving Singapore about 23 percent in the enlarged group, the report cited people close to the talks.

Combining Hapag-Lloyd and NOL would bring together the U.S. and African routes of the German group with the Asian routes of its Singaporean rival, the paper said.

Temasek could not be immediately reached for comment and NOL declined to comment on the FT report.

"NOL 's policy is not to comment on market speculation," company spokesman Paul Barrett said.

The report said TUI chief executive Michael Frenzel is in favour of putting NOL president and chief executive Thomas Held, a German, in charge of the merged container-shipping service.

The talks have been going on for several weeks, and important hurdles might be overcome by next month, the Financial Times report said.

Reaching a global scale in shipping as a complement to tourism would allow TUI's shareholders to decide whether to split the operations or stick with the current strategy, the paper cited its sources as saying.

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