Midea in talks to buy China's Moller-Maersk container business

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A.P. is among the suitors in the next round of bidding for China International Marine Containers Group Co. and Midea Group Co. Moller-Maersk A S's refrigerated container business, which could be valued at as much as $1.1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The industry giant Thermo King Corp. and the United States air conditioning manufacturer Carrier Global Corp. also proceed into the second round, the people said. One of the people said that Japan's Daikin Industries Ltd. and the Buyout firm Triton were invited to submit offers as well.

Maersk plans to collect binding bids by late July, according to the people who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Deliberations are ongoing and the companies could decide against making any offers, they added.

A deal would help Carrier, Daikin and Thermo King expand their temperature-controlled container manufacturing business, while Chinese household appliance giant Midea has been looking to diversify into new areas. In 2017 the company acquired the German robotics company Kuka AG in 2017.

Triton, which focuses primarily on European countries and invests in the clinical, business services, consumer and health care sectors, has raised 15.6 billion euros since its establishment in 1997, according to its website.

A potential disposal would come as Maersk conducts a strategic review of its ownership of refrigerated container manufacturing unit Maersk Container Industry. It made the review in May and affirmed an earlier Bloomberg News report previously released.

Founded in 1991, MCI manufactures intermodal containers and refrigeration machines for the refrigerated freight industry. The cold containers are used in the transport of fruit, vegetables and other perishables.

The unit benefited from the strong demand for its containers during the coronavirus pandemic, with lockdowns clogging global trade routes and endending flows of refrigerated storage. The first quarter of 2006 reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $25 million, a jump from $14 million in the same period last year, according to Maersk's latest financial report.

According to its website MCI has around 2,200 employees and a network of more than 400 service providers. The company has its headquarters in China and has production facilities in Denmark.

A representative for Maersk reiterated that the strategic review for MCI is ongoing and will comment at a later stage of the process further. Daikin and Thermo King, a parent company of Thermo King, declined to comment. Representatives of CIMC, Carrier, Midea and Triton didn't respond immediately to requests for comment in the current year.

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