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Temasek putting NOL up for sale: WSJ

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Temasek Holdings has put Neptune Orient Lines up for sale, a Wall Street Journal report said on Thursday.

TEMASEK Holdings has put Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) up for sale, a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report said on Thursday.

Citing "people familiar with the situation", the WSJ reported that the shipping company had been "shopped to prospective buyers" in recent months.

"The deal would allow Temasek to exit the container shipping business, which has performed poorly in recent years amid excess capacity...The company had been in talks with a prospective buyer but the two sides couldn't agree on price, according to a person familiar with the situation," the WSJ report said.

This news comes on the heels of NOL's US$1.2 billion sale of its logistics business to Kintetsu World Express, which was announced earlier this year.

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Temasek, which owns about 67 per cent of NOL according to Bloomberg data, told The Business Times that it does not comment on "market speculation and rumours about investments". NOL could not be reached for immediate comment.

NOL has recorded pre-tax losses for the last four consecutive years. For the year ended Dec 26, 2014, the group's net loss more than trebled to US$260 million from US$76 million.

Even as it posted a smaller net loss for its first quarter this year, its outlook for the sector remained bleak. Then, NOL's group president and chief executive, Ng Yat Chung, had warned in a statement that the liner industry will still have to contend with "persistent over-capacity and uncertain global economic prospects".

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