NEW YORK (CNNfn) - CSX Corp. appears poised to sell its international shipping unit to a Danish company.
The sale of Sea-Land Service Inc. to Maersk Inc., a unit of Danish carrier A.P. Moller-Maersk, could be announced as early as this week and net the railroad company as much as $800 million in cash and debt assumption, according to press reports.
Speculation about a possible sale of Sea-Land has been rising since March, when CSX (CSX) divided the unit into three separate operations: international shipping, domestic shipping, and terminal operations.
Selling the unit would allow CSX to concentrate more on its railroad operations. The company is currently trying to absorb half the Conrail system into its operations.
Sea-Land is the largest U.S. shipping company. It already shares many shipping and terminal operations with Maersk through various partner agreements. Analysts have speculated that Maersk, in addition to the international shipping business, may also be interested in Sea-Land's terminal operations.
Maersk is the world's largest container shipping company - moving cargo in standardized shipping containers -- with a fleet of more than 150 ships.
Will Maersk become even bigger?
Domestic operations -- shipping services to Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico -- may also draw some interest. Analysts have speculated that potential bidders for those operations could include Matson Navigation Co., a unit of Alexander & Baldwin (ALEX), and privately held Crowley Maritime Corp.
CSX stock closed up 2-5/16 at 48-15/16 Friday.