NEPTUNE Orient Lines (NOL), South-east Asia's biggest container line, is seeking buyers for APL Logistics unit in a sale that could fetch at least US$1 billion (S$1.27 billion), said Bloomberg.
Citing unidentified sources, the news agency said the company has sent sale documents to potential buyers and asked for first-round bids by the end of November.
NOL had announced in August that it was considering options for APL Logistics, including a sale or initial public offering. The unit accounted for 18 per cent of its sales last year.
In a filing to Korea's stock exchange, CJ Korea Express said it was weighing options relating to APL Logistics, including an acquisition or the forming of a strategic alliance. The Korean company has said it was interested in growing its business outside the country and has been looking at acquisition opportunities.
In a response to Bloomberg's queries, NOL said there has not been any material development on the review and there is no assurance a deal will be concluded.
NOL reported a net loss of US$151.68 million in the first half, compared with a profit a year earlier.
APL Logistics posted US$32 million in core earnings before net finance, tax and exceptional items, while the container shipping business had a loss of US$112 million.
The shipping group is forecast to post a fourth straight annual loss this year as slowing economic growth and excess capacity depress shipping rates, Bloomberg said.