Friday, November 26, 2010

Twenty Percent Of Major Container Shipping Group Sold Off

CMA CGM Link with Turkish Group
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – TURKEY – After many false starts it appears CMA CGM, the worlds third largest container shipping line, have finally managed to obtain some hard sought cash to strengthen its equity base and, according to the French group, secure the financing of its investment plan. Under the terms of a just signed agreement the Turkish owned Yildirim Group will receive five-year ORA equity notes giving access to 20% of CMA CGM’s share capital in exchange for an investment of half a billion dollars.

The Yildirim Group will also be given three seats on the 10-member Board of Directors whilst the historic shareholding of the Saadé family, headed by non executive chairman Jacques R. Saadé, will retain a majority interest with 80% of outstanding shares and voting rights. The Yildirim Group, also family run, is a holding company established in 1963 in Samsun, Turkey. It currently deals in shipping, shipbuilding, and port management plus has chemical, mining and fertiliser interests.

Jacques R. Saadé, who was seemingly forced to step down as chairman last year by creditors in order to renegotiate a half billion collar facility, commented on the deal:

“This alliance with the Yildirim Group will enable us to strengthen CMA CGM’s balance sheet. We have taken the time to choose the right partner, who shares our values and vision of CMA CGM’s future. The arrival of a new investor will provide our Group with additional resources to support and step up its growth and represents a major milestone in our history."

CMA CGM have presented a confident front to their new investors insisting that they have put the dark days of two years ago behind them and producing figures showing a 38% increase in revenues for the first three trading quarters of 2010 over the previous year. Freight volumes are up to 6.8 million TEU, a rise of almost 18% plus an earnings before tax statistic of 18.5%.

The box carrier took delivery of twelve new vessels this year, presumably ordered in better times, and now own ninety two vessels which, plus charters, mean the group operates four hundred vessels currently with nine further acquisitions scheduled for 2011. The group have a reported debt of around $5 billion and Yildirim say they will leave the running of the shipping line to the Saadé family whilst they develop the port and terminal businesses.

Yildirim has been a supplier to CMA CGM for some years mainly through such operations as Yilport Container Terminal and Port Operations Inc. an established subsidiary of Yildirim Holding Inc. handling container freight for the French group.

Photo:- Yilport, Turkey