TUI says in talks over Hapag stake sale

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s TUI said it was in talks to sell a stake in container shipping business Hapag-Lloyd that it had earlier said it wanted to float, boosting its shares by 5 percent.

The German travel operator was in early stage talks with several interested parties including Oman and HNA — China’s fourth-largest airline group — about the sale of a stake in Hapag-Lloyd, sources close to TUI said.

Its stock traded 5 percent higher at 8.96 euros at 1029 GMT (6:29 a.m. ET), against a flat midcap index in Germany.

An initial public offering of the unit was also still possible, the company said.

TUI had mulled floating half of its stake, but last month put any decision on ice after the earthquake in Japan and unrest in the Middle East rocked markets.

An official at Omani state-owned Onyx Investments Ltd said it had reached an agreement in principle to buy a stake in world’s fifth-largest container shipper, but that negotiations about the price were continuing.

The official, who declined to be named, had said late on Monday Onyx had bought the 15-percent stake, which then prompted TUI’s response on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Angelika Gruber in Munich, Saleh Al-Shaibany in Muscat and Philipp Halstrick in Frankfurt; writing by Edward Taylor and Ludwig Burger; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

TUI says in talks over Hapag stake sale