German asset manager MPC Capital is merging the shipbroking operations of Harper Petersen and Albis Shipping & Transport after acquiring 100% ownership of both entities.

The newly consolidated Hamburg-based company will be a German shipbroking giant across the container, tanker and dry bulk segments.

It will operate with around 45 brokers and support staff under the joint brands of Harper Petersen for container shipping and sale and purchase, and Harper Petersen Albis for tanker and bulker operations.

The move has been made possible following the acquisition by MPC Capital of the shares it did not already own in Harper Petersen and Albis.

MPC Capital was already a majority shareholder in Harper Petersen but acquired the remaining 40% last year from Zech Group in Bremen.

The company had earlier taken over the remaining 50% of Albis that it did not own and possessed 100% of the equity in that company.

Global reach

By combining the two operations, MPC Capital aims to enhance its research and operational offerings across its offices in Germany, Singapore, China and the Netherlands.

The merged entity will be led by John Freydag and Arne Corleis, the current managing directors of Harper Petersen, both reporting to MPC Capital’s managing director of shipping, Christian Rychly.

Christian Rychly says the merged operation will better serve owners with more diversified fleets. Photo: Capital Link

“The merger will enable us to better serve customers with diversified fleets and to offer more services from our four offices around the globe,” Rychly said.

He said the new outfit will be Germany’s largest broker and the only one that covers such a wide swathe of segments.

While Germany’s traditional strength is in container shipping, MPC Capital was keen to grow in other segments and internationally.

Albis has already strengthened with the addition of two senior tanker brokers, Thomas Brocker and Vincent Lenz, who join from United Product Tankers, part of Schoeller Group.

Rychly said the main reason for the merger was to serve a more diversified fleet of owners that operate across the sectors in container, dry and tankers.

The move will also help MPC Capital grow its international presence and make better use of its offices outside Germany, which to date have not been used by the Albis team.

Divergent strategies

MPC Capital’s approach to its commercial operations differs from its involvement on the technical side, where it operates an equal joint venture with Wilhelmsen Ship Management Singapore.

In December, MPC Capital and Wilhelmsen formed a joint venture to buy 100% of Zeaborn Ship Management, a third-party ship manager with a fleet of around 100 vessels.

“On the technical side it has become so complex, and you need to do so many things, that we decided to do a joint venture with Wilhelmsen,” Rychly said.

“Whereas on the commercial side, we decided to consolidate and build it ourselves, the MPC Group. That’s the strategy that we want to use now. It’s about convincing the people that you’re the right shareholder and you’re interested and committed to growing their business and to help and support them.”

He said that can be achieved with a larger group: “If you’re growing a company, you can add more research, more digitalisation. It’s difficult to do if you’re a small shop, at the end of the day.”