PARIS, June 13 (Reuters) – French container shipping firm CMA CGM plans to delist Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) following its takeover of the Singaporean shipper, CMA CGM’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 percent of NOL shares after buying Temasek Holdings’ stake in a $2.4-billion deal agreed last year.
Minority shareholders can sell their shares to CMA CG until July 18. Saade said he was confident they will sell and added that as soon as CMA CGM holds 90 percent of NOL, Singapore law will oblige any remaining minority shareholders to sell, after which NOL will be delisted.
Saade also said that following a deal with Singapore container terminal operator PSA, which is 100 percent owned by Temasek, CMA CGM will move its shipping traffic from Malaysia to a new terminal in Singapore. CMA CGM 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.
Saade said there was still overcapacity in the industry and that a price war is continuing which will make 2016 a difficult year for shipping.
He said CMA CGM plans $1 billion of asset sales and in September the firm will launch a plan to cut $1 billion in costs over 18 to 24 months.
He said some of CMA CGM’s ships were anchored for now and that the firm would not hesitate to anchor more.
Saade also said that a planned operational alliance with Chinese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong shipping firms will be called Ocean Alliance and is set to launch in April 2017. The alliance is waiting for clearance from US, EU and Chinese authorities, he added. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq, editing by Louise Heavens)
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