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Rickmers brothers get back together in Harper Petersen...
04/09/2003 (Lloyd's List)

Erck and Bertram Rickmers, the brothers who separately control two of Germany's leading shipping groups, are joining forces in Harper Petersen, the London and Hamburg containership broker.

Bertram Rickmers, of Rickmers Reederei, is buying half of the large Harper Petersen shareholding his brother's ship finance arm, Nordcapital, acquired in July.

The deal represents another tremendous boost to Harper Petersen's business opportunities, and reunites the Rickmers brothers after a parting of the ways in the 1990s.

Bertram Rickmers is appointing Harper Petersen as exclusive broker for his entire fleet of about 75 containerships, which range from 1,000 teu to 5,000 teu and have a total capacity of about 200,000 teu.

Together with the ships controlled by Erck Rickmers, Harper Petersen will have access to 135 vessels of 1,000 teu-8,000 teu, and aggregating 450,000 teu.

Nordcapital became Harper Petersen's largest single shareholder through the July deal.

Although none of the parties have officially confirmed the size of the shareholding, it is understood to have been a majority stake.

Harper Petersen's managing director Jens Mahnke commented: "With the consolidation within the liner industry and the growing demand for container tonnage the new shareholder structure puts Harper Petersen in an even better position to serve its clients with a broad size range of container vessels".

The other shareholders in Harper Petersen are Denholm, one of the largest privately owned shipping organisations in Europe, and Kenneth Petersen, son of the company's founder and now chairman.

The Rickmers brothers established Nordcapital in Hamburg in 1992 with the aim of enabling the family-owned shipping business to expand its fleet.

Bertram Rickmers then left the company and operates Rickmers Reederei and Rickmers-Linie, which he acquired from Hapag-Lloyd in 2000.

Erck Rickmers expanded into shipowning and built Nordcapital into one of the leading German ship finance institutions.

By Tony Gray

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