Moller-Maersk sells off £1.9bn grocery holding

Marion Dakers
MOLLER-MAERSK is dropping shopping for shipping by selling off most of its stake in Netto’s parent company for around 17bn kroner (£1.9bn).

Chief executive Nils Andersen is cutting the focus of the firm to shipping, port services and its oil unit.

The Danish conglomerate will hand over a 49 per cent stake in Dansk Supermarked to the Salling Companies, the other shareholder in the group.

The firm will also give the buyer an option to take on Maersk’s remaining 19 per cent holding after five years.

Dansk Supermarked operates Netto in Germany, Poland, Sweden and Denmark, having sold the UK branches to Asda in 2010.

The group is Denmark’s biggest retailer and operates more than 2,000 stores across Europe under four brands, and made revenues of 56bn kroner last year.

Maersk, which has been an investor in Dansk Supermarked since the 1960s, is also selling its 18.7 per cent holding in department store chain F Salling.

The deals follow Maersk’s disposal on Sunday of 15 crude carriers to Euronav for $980m.

However, the group is expected to keep its 23 per cent holding in Danske Bank.

Moller-Maersk suffered in the aftermath of the credit crunch as global shipping volumes sank, but has since recovered and in November posted a 23 per cent jump in quarterly profits to 6.4bn kroner.

Shares in Moller-Maersk rose 3.5 per cent yesterday.