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60 Klaus Michael Kühne, Kuehne + Nagel

Veteran logistics player Klaus Michael Kühne chose not to chase Panalpina. But he remains an active investor in Hapag-Lloyd

The company’s largest shareholder remains an influential figure in logistics and shipping

KLAUS Michael Kühne, the veteran owner of Kuehne + Nagel, turned down the chance to make his global logistics brand even bigger this year, when he ruled out counterbidding for rival Panalpina, which was eventually bought by DSV.

Speaking earlier this year, Mr Kühne said  Panalpina was not worth the $4bn DSV offered for the company.

“If the Danes absolutely want to buy a hopelessly overvalued Panalpina, then you can’t prevent it,” he told Swiss press.

“Maybe a year ago it might have been a financially attractive target, but at the moment its operative potential and the valuation do not match.”

DSV decided otherwise and went on to complete the transaction, taking it to fourth place in the realm of global 3PLs, but still behind K+N.

Although no longer active in the day-to-day operation of the company co-founded by his grandfather, Mr Kühne retains a role as honorary chairman and is the largest shareholder.

Through his Kühne Holdings, he also has a major stake in German carrier Hapag-Lloyd.

Mr Kühne has grown his stake in the Hamburg-based line from 20.8% at the time of its initial public offering in 2015 to 26.2%, in what appears to be a battle for control of the company with Chile’s Lukic family, who became shareholders through the merger with Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores.

That battle has seen Hapag-Lloyd’s free float reduced to 9% of its outstanding shares and driven up the value of shares in the company dramatically.

After debuting at €20, they had traded in a €20-€40 range until the middle of 2019, since when they have shot up to more than €70.

Now in his 80s, Mr Kühne may have stepped back from the fray, but his influence remains widely felt in both logistics and shipping.

Mr Kühne also appeared in the Top 100 in 2011201420152016, 2017 and 2018.


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