AP Moller-Maersk has come out in favour of the merger between the Standard Club and North P&I Club.

The giant Danish shipowner is a member of both clubs as well as operating its own captive insurance company, Maersk Insurance. But its account is highly valued in the world of protection and idemnity, where it wields considerable commercial clout among the clubs.

Lars Henneberg, head of risk management at AP Moller-Maersk, said: “We welcome the announcement from Standard Club and North regarding their proposed merger. As a member of both clubs, we believe that a larger, stronger club will foster a more competitive and innovative P&I market, developing enhanced and innovative services for members and driving further product diversification.”

Singapore-based BW Group, which is a member of North P&I, also spoke out in favour of the merger.

Patrick Kirkman, head of insurance at BW Group, said the two clubs are a good match.

“We are fully behind the merger which we see as delivering a particularly stable and strong P&I club, well-positioned to meet the challenges the P&I market faces now and in the years ahead,” he said.

“Our faith that the merger is a good development, and will deliver value, is based on the premise that the clubs are not just complementary in their focus and drive, but also because the clubs are different with each bringing a unique set of skills and in-house qualities into a partnership of equals creating a compelling P&I offering for the benefit of all members.”

Takeover concerns?

However, not all members were complimentary of the merger. One, speaking anonymously, pointed to the negative impact on competition in the market as well as the dominant role North P&I would play in the merged company.

“Many members see this as effectively being a North takeover, with their stronger, more pragmatic overall management team in Newcastle playing the dominant role and some more experienced members of the Standard management team departing in a relatively short time frame, and the more diverse and ambitious Newcastle management-based operation taking over,” the anonymous member said.