CMA CGM Enters Into Exclusive Acquisition Discussions with NOL - Global Trade Magazine
  December 2nd, 2015 | Written by

CMA CGM Enters Into Exclusive Acquisition Discussions with NOL

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  • CMA CGM/NOL combination would contribute to industry consolidation at a time when scale is critical.
  • CMA CGM is the third largest container carrier in the world, after Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping.
  • Temasek Holdings, NOL’s controlling shareholder, put its stake in NOL on the market last summer.

In response to published reports, the French container carrier CMA CGM has confirmed that it has entered into exclusive discussions with Neptune Orient Lines Limited (NOL) with regard to a potential acquisition of NOL. The exclusivity period is expected to run until December 7, 2015.

Lentor Investments Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited, NOL’s controlling shareholder, is also a party to the talks.

Temasek Holdings put its 65-percent stake in NOL on the market last summer. Hapag Lloyd was mentioned as an early acquisition suitor at that time.

Temasek, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund, estimates that based NOL is worth $2.6 billion, meaning it intends to collect $1.7 billion from any NOL sale.

CMA CGM is the third largest container carrier in the world, after Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping.

“Should these discussions lead to an agreement,” CMA CGM said in a statement, “such a combination would contribute to the consolidation of the container shipping industry, at a time when scale is more critical than ever. It would further reinforce CMA CGM as a global force in container shipping, leveraging the strong geographic and operational complementarity of both groups.”

NOL, through its operating brand, the container carrier APL, has had its share of financial problems in recent years. Revenue is down from $9.4 billion in 2010 to $8.6 billion in 2014. 2010 was the last year the company showed a profit.

APL, NOL’s container shipping business, reported positive first-quarter earnings of $13 million on revenue of $1.6 billion, compared to a loss of $82 million during the same period last year. APL’s volume fell 15 percent, and APL’s average freight rates dipped eight percent.

Last May, Temasek sold its logistics division, APL Logistics, to Japanese Kinetsu World Express for $1.2 billion.

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