CMA CGM to divest NOL terminals

The French shipping line CMA CGM plans to sell the terminal assets of the Singaporean Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), reports The Straits Times citing Bloomberg. CMA CGM acquired NOL in June this year adding APL container line to its shipping portfolio.

The terminals to be put up for sale include US West Coast terminals Global Gateway South in Los Angeles and Dutch Harbour in Alaska, Japanese terminals Kobe and Yokohama, Taiwanese terminal in Kaohsiung, as well as terminals in China (Qingdao), Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh) and Thailand (Laem Chabang) which NOL operates through joint-ventures with local companies. NOL also possesses a 20% stake in Rotterdam World Gateway consortium, which opened a new container terminal at Maasvlakte 2 in September, 2015.

By offloading these assets CMA CGM expects to earn up to USD 1 billion to lessen its debt after the purchase of NOL, for which the company paid USD 2.4 billion. Overall the deal was valued at about USD 5 billion, including NOL’s debt. As of June 30, CMA CGM’s adjusted net debt stood at USD 8.2 billion.

The indication for these plans was mentioned already in the official statement of CMA CGM in relation with NOL acquisition: “CMA CGM intends to deleverage its balance sheet within 18 to 24 months through synergies and assets sales for an amount of at least USD 1 billion, with the aim to reduce debt gearing ratio to below 0.8 times”.

In September the Wall Street Journal wrote of the first moves of the French company in this direction. At that time BNP Paribas and HSBC were appointed to handle the sale.

The first round of bids are scheduled for next month.

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