HAMBURG (Reuters) - German travel and tourism group TUI AG <TUIGn. DE> will offload its remaining stake in container shipping group Hapag-Lloyd <HPLG. UL> via an initial public offering as soon as market conditions allow, its chief executive said.
Friedrich Joussen said that an IPO of Hapag-Lloyd, in which TUI holds a 22 percent stake, was not dependent on a run of two or three quarters with good results, as his predecessor had often said, and that as soon as the IPO market showed positive signs, the chance should be seized.
However, given the planned change in management at Hapag-Lloyd in mid-2014 and continuing tough conditions in the shipping industry, an IPO was not likely before autumn 2014, he told journalists in Hamburg on Thursday, in comments set for release on Friday.
Joussen also said that there was no possibility at present of TUI AG merging with TUI Travel <TT. L>, Europe's largest listed tour operator and in which TUI AG owns a 54.48 percent stake.
The two had held talks at the start of this year on a merger to cut their costly holding structure, but scrapped the plans due to share price valuations.
TUI Travel on Thursday increased its outlook for the year after good summer trading but Joussen said the TUI AG outlook was staying the same.
(Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Victoria Bryan)