COSCO, China Shipping admit possible asset restructuring

China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO) and China Shipping Group, two of the country’s largest shipping firms, said shares in their listed companies would remain suspended pending a complex matter under research that “may involve asset restructuring”.

The listed units of the two state-owned companies, including COSCO’s flagship China Cosco and China Shipping’s China Shipping Development , halted trading in their shares from Aug. 10, adding at the time that they were “planning major issues”.

The announcement from both companies on the Shanghai Stock Exchange website late on Tuesday was the first public mention by either company of possible merger talks. A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters earlier that a possible merger between the two firms was being discussed.

COSCO and China Shipping are currently the world’s sixth and seventh largest container shipping firms, respectively, according to consultancy Alphaliner.

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