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BERLIN (Reuters) -Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said on Thursday that it would not be in the container shipper's interest to make a counter offer for HHLA, the main operator of Hamburg port, and may instead cut its traffic through the hub. On Wednesday, Switzerland-based MSC, the world's biggest container shipping company, offered to buy almost half of the port operator in a deal that could be worth nearly 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion). Speaking to Reuters in an interview, Habben Jansen said that as a result of MSC's bid, Hapag-Lloyd could reduce its transport to Central Europe through Hamburg to about 70% or 80% of current volumes.
Swiss-based MSC, the world's biggest container shipping company, has offered to buy almost half of the main operator of Hamburg port in a deal that could be worth nearly 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion), setting the stage for a potential bidding war. Shares in HHLA, which runs Germany's biggest port, soared 49% to a 19-month high as shortly after Wednesday's announcement German logistics billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuehne said he was considering a counter offer. "We are examining the submission of a public takeover bid, but would prefer an agreement with the city of Hamburg on privatisation - be it in the direction of Kuehne Holding, or in the direction of Hapag-Lloyd," in which he owns a 30% stake, Kuehne told Reuters in an email.