Multiple firms steer German shipper to US$1 billion Chilean buy
Elliott Hodgkin
26 October 2022

A slew of law firms has helped German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd expand in Latin America by purchasing two subsidiaries of Chilean foreign trade services group SAAM for US$1 billion.

Hapag-Lloyd turned to five offices of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Carey in Santiago, two offices of Aguilar Castillo Love, Bustamante Fabara in Quito, Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez SC in Mexico City and Posse Herrera Ruiz in Bogotá.

Carey coordinated the due diligence processes for the buyer across all jurisdictions.

SAAM enlisted three offices of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Claro & Cía in Santiago for the deal. It was signed on 4 October.

Greenberg Traurig LLP is also thought to have advised the buyer, but Latin Lawyer could not confirm this prior to publication.

The buyer will acquire SAAM Ports and SAAM Logistics from the Chilean group through the transaction. SAAM Ports manages 10 port terminals, which are maintained by around 4,000 employees. In 2021, the terminals had a combined throughput of some 3.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU). Hapag-Lloyd’s annual TEU capacity is 11.9 million. Shipping companies use the TEU measurement to assess the cargo capacity for vessels and terminals. Containers that are not 20 feet long must be converted into TEU.

Five of SAAM Ports' terminals are in Chile, with the remaining five located in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and the United States.

Inland-focused business SAAM Logistics operates out of the group’s five Chilean terminals. The logistics division counts a further 300 employees.

SAAM is projected to make a US$400 million net profit from the deal, which will not include the handover of its tugboat and airport logistics services.

Earlier this month, its tugboat arm, SAAM Towage, bought the Peruvian tugboat operations of Chilean shipping agency Ian Taylor. SAAM began its expansion into the Peruvian tugboat market last year and made the acquisition as part of its ongoing growth strategy.

SAAM Towage’s Brazilian division has also recently reinforced its tugboat fleet. In May, the company paid local counterpart Starnav US$150 million for 17 operational vessels and US$48 million for a further four tugboats, which are currently being built.

Hapag-Lloyd’s shipping and logistics services are present in 137 countries, 10 of which are in Latin America. The company is a product of the 1970 merger between shipping companies Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Aktien-Gesellschaft (HAPAG) and Norddeutscher Lloyd.

SAAM has grown to become one of the biggest port operators in the Americas since being founded in 1960. It has been listed on the Santiago stock exchange since 2012.

Counsel to Hapag-Lloyd

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Partners Natascha Doll, Christoph Seibt and Simon Schwarz-Lindenberg, and associates Carsten Bork, Arne Krawinkel, Maximilian Berenbrok and Panagiota Kavvada in Hamburg; partner Paul Tiger and counsel Olaf Ehlers in New York; partner David Beutel and counsel Martin Rehberg in Munich; associate Julia Kubelka in Vienna; and associate Brendan Counihan in Washington, DC


Partners Pablo Iacobelli, Marcos Ríos, Lorena Pavic, Francisca Corti, Manuel José Garcés and José Pardo, and associates Julio Recordon, Valentina Kuscevic, Juan Pablo De la Maza, Javiera Avilés, Fernanda Pardo, Jaime Coutts, Javiera Herrera, Gonzalo Soto, Oscar Lizana, Ismael Bahamonde and Nicolás Fontaine in Santiago

Aguilar Castillo Love (Costa Rica)

Partners Marco Solano Gómez, Rubén Zamora Castro and Andrea Saenz Mederas, and associates Stephanie Howard Peña, Cristina Corrales González and Karlo Suñol Swirgsde in San José

Aguilar Castillo Love (Honduras)

Partner Enrique Rodríguez Burchard and Juan José Alcerro, and associate Ondina Santos in Tegucigalpa

Bustamante Fabara

Partner José Rafael Bustamante, director Kirina González and associates Gino Ivich, Valentina Morillo, José Antonio Bustamante and Jerónimo Villagómez in Quito

Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez SC

Partner Jorge Montaño and associates Laura Holm and Ernesto Ramos in Mexico City

Posse Herrera Ruiz

Partners Jaime Herrera, Gabriel Sánchez and Jorge de los Ríos, and associates Daniel Meza and Jorge Lamo in Bogotá

Counsel to SM SAAM

In-house counsel – Tomás Palacios

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Partners Juan Francisco Mendez and Jasmin Koslowe, counsel Michael Isby and Borja Marcos, and associate Ryan Stott in New York; partner Benjamin Rippeon in Washington, DC; and associates Siddharth Fresa and Susan Uquillas Mosquera in São Paulo

Claro & Cía

Partners Rodrigo Ochagavía, Felipe Larrain, Jorge Carraha, Juan León and José Miguel Huerta, and associates Juan Pablo Celis, Philippa Cooper, Rafael Cruzat, Sofía La Roche and Kevin Gibson in Santiago

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