South America’s wealthiest family, the Luksic clan, has seen a decade-long punt on shipping pay off handsomely.

The family is now worth $25bn, Bloomberg reported, thanks largely to the merger of its Chilean shipping firm Compania Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) with German container line Hapag-Lloyd.

An initial 2011 investment by its holding company Quinenco in CSAV drew scepticism from analysts and investors after initial losses.

The family put more than $1.2bn into the company through a capital raise in 2012, and agreed waivers with banks and bondholders to spin off the tug fleet.

In 2014, CSAV was taken over by Hapag-Lloyd, giving the Chilean company a 30% stake in its German partner.

This holding has seen the cash flow in as boxship rates hit record levels during the pandemic rebound.

In 2022, Hapag-Lloyd recorded an $18bn profit, with CSAV banking $5.6bn in earnings.

This made up more than 90% of Quinenco’s profit.

And Quinenco’s subsidiary, SAAM, sold $1bn in port assets to Hapag-Lloyd last year.

Founded in 1957, Quinenco initially focused on wooden supports for tunnels. Now it has interests in finance, drinks and logistics.

Profit down in 2023

The family also has a $12bn stake in rail and mining conglomerate Antofagasta.

In August, CSAV revealed a profit of $347.5m in the first half of the year.

This was down 88% compared with 2022, as container ship rates came off.

“The results reflect a first half of the year with a drop in cargo volumes in the global market, mainly due to high inventory levels, as well as a slowdown in consumption in the main markets,” said CSAV general manager Oscar Hasbun.

“This more complex volume scenario has had a strong impact on spot rates, which has been partially offset by the contract structure.”