SINGAPORE (Nov 23): Singapore container shipping firm Neptune Orient Lines opened 5.4% higher at $1.18 after news over the weekend that the company has entered into exclusive talks with France's CMA CGM SA, the world's third-largest shipper by capacity.

The stock is now trading 3.6% higher at $1.16.

An acquisition of NOL, which is valued at around US$1.9 billion ($2.7 billion), would be a big win for the company, which is struggling with low volumes, overcapacity and competition.

Flagging global trade and overcapacity have hammered even the biggest shipping lines, forcing many into strategic alliances and rounds of cost-cutting.

NOL is 65% owned by Singapore state investment fund Temasek.

The exclusivity arrangement is scheduled to last until December 7.