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[SHANGHAI] China is considering a merger of China Shipping Group and Cosco Group, its two major shipping companies, amid a broader push to streamline state-owned enterprises, according to people familiar with the matter.
The government may combine the two companies or merge some of their operations, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations aren't public.
China Shipping Group is the parent company of China Shipping Development, while COSCO counts Cosco Shipping among its listed entities. Both listed companies said in stock exchange filings their parent groups are "planning major issues" and suspended trading from Monday.
China's State-owned Assets Supervision & Administration Commission didn't immediately respond to a faxed request for comment. A China Shipping Group spokesman declined to comment when reached by phone today, while two calls to a Cosco Group spokesman rang unanswered.
Earlier on Friday, Ship.sh, a Shanghai-based news website about the shipping industry, reported Cosco and China Shipping planned to set up a reform committee to discuss restructuring the two companies and would work out a plan in the next three months.