Jun 14, 2016

    CMA CGM set to delist NOL after takeover


    CMA CGM plans to delist Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) following its takeover of the Singaporean shipper, the French container shipping firm's vice-chairman Rodolphe Saade told French daily Les Echos.

    CMA CGM, the world's third-largest container shipping company, said earlier this month it holds over 78 per cent of NOL shares after buying Temasek Holdings' stake in a US$2.4 billion (S$3.3 billion) deal agreed last year.

    Minority shareholders can sell their shares to CMA CGM until July 18. Mr Saade said he was confident they will sell and added that as soon as his company holds 90 per cent of NOL, Singapore law will oblige any remaining minority shareholders to sell, after which NOL will be delisted.

    He also said that following a deal with container terminal operator PSA, which is 100 per cent owned by Temasek, CMA CGM will move its shipping traffic from Malaysia to a new terminal in Singapore.

    The French firm will also move its Asian headquarters to Singapore from Hong Kong.

    The NOL operation is CMA CGM's biggest-ever acquisition and comes as container lines seek to cope with a severe market downturn through greater scale.

    Mr Saade said there was still overcapacity and that a price war is continuing which will make this year a difficult period for shipping.

    He added that some of CMA CGM's ships were anchored for now and that the firm would not hesitate to anchor more.

    Mr Saade also said that a planned operational alliance - with Chinese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong shipping firms - will be called Ocean Alliance.

    It is set to launch in April next year.

    The alliance is waiting for clearance from United States, European and Chinese authorities, he added.