Maersk shares slump as it unveils fast track fundraising to build a war chest

DANISH shipping and energy group Maersk yesterday saw its shares tumble after it unveiled an accelerated share sale valued at 9.2bn krone (&pound;1.1bn) to build a war chest for acquisitions.<br /><br />Shares of the firm, which owns the world&rsquo;s biggest shipper Maersk Line, shed over eight per cent yesterday, falling to 33.9 krone.<br /><br />This came after the conglomerate said it would place up to 250,000 shares, equivalent to 5.7 per cent of its current share capital.<br /><br />Sources close to the group said the shares will be taken up in full by investors, and that a mix of big institutional backers in the US, UK and Nordic region had registered interest.<br /><br />News of the accelerated book-build, a way of offering shares in just one or two days, came as chief executive Nils Smedegaard Andersen said he was eyeing buyouts in a number of sectors.<br /><br />Accelerated book-builds are often used when a firm wants to get hold of immediate capital to finance an acquisition it has already decided to make.<br /><br />Andersen said: &ldquo;What we want to invest in will be good opportunities in oil, either by buying into production partnerships or buying a field.&rdquo;<br /><br />He declined to comment on whether Maersk is planning to make a bid for troubled German shipping rival Hapag-Lloyd, currently owned by transport and tourism giant TUI.