Imperial Logistics has agreed to sell its European shipping business to Germany’s Häfen und Güterverkehr Köln for an about €176.1m (R3.64bn), as the group continues to focus more on Africa.

Imperial is seeking to grow its footprint, and its shipping business is considered noncore for this strategy.

In Europe, the shipping business is the largest inland navigation operator — active in the most important river basins and inland waterways with a focus on the rivers Rhine, Main, Danube, Neckar, Elbe and the German canal system, the group said.

“Imperial has adopted a phased approach in the disposal of its shipping business, and as such, Imperial is disposing of the European shipping business to the Purchaser, which we believe is well positioned to operate the business sustainably based on long-standing customer relationships and a highly motivated workforce,” the group said.

The South American shipping business will be continued on a stand-alone basis but will remain available for sale.

In morning trade on Monday, Imperial's share price was up 1.6% to R33.08, having fallen 43.45% so far in 2020.