France’s CMA CGM and Denmark’s AP Moeller-Maersk are engaged in separate talks to acquire Singapore-based container group Neptune Orient Lines (NOL).
Confirming the discussions, NOL issued a statement on its website that read: "NOL has a duty to assess all options to maximise shareholder value and improve its competitiveness.
"From time to time, NOL enters into discussions on possible combinations involving NOL, while remaining focused on returning its core liner business to sustainable growth and profitability."
However, the company emphasised that there is no guarantee the discussions will result in any definitive agreement or transaction.
NOL further added: "NOL will make an appropriate announcement in the event that there are any material developments.
"Shareholders of NOL and investors are therefore advised to exercise caution when dealing in shares in and other securities of NOL."
Singapore state-investment company Tamasek holds 65% stake in NOL and had put the container-shipping company up for sale in July this year, reported The Wall Street Journal.
Reports also emerged over the potential merger of the container-shipping company with Hapag-Lloyd AG of Germany and Orient Overseas (International) of Hong Kong.
In May this year, the company sold its profitable logistics business, APL Logistics, for $1.2bn to Japan’s Kintetsu World Express.
NOL has been looking for a buyer for months due to the industry downturn.