Container ship firm to get lifeline

THE owners of Hapag-Lloyd are preparing to throw the German container shipping company a financial lifeline.<br /><br />Shareholder consortium Albert Ballin and German tourism group TUI Hapag&rsquo;s former parent, are gearing up to provide it with another &euro;420m (&pound;360m) after giving &euro;330m in July.<br /><br />It is still undecided whether TUI will inject further cash or take the preferred option of transforming existing loans to Hapag into equity. How much each party will be giving is also unknown.<br /><br />TUI sold Hapag-Lloyd to the investor group earlier this year but kept 43 per cent and agreed to provide additional credit facilities.<br /><br />On top of help from its owners, Hapag also plans to ask the German government for &euro;1.2bn euros in loan guarantees.<br /><br />Efforts to prop up the company come amid a general collapse in demand for container shipping.<br /><br />Danish Moller-Maersk, a maker of large container ships, announced this week it would stop building ships in Denmark.