Monday, April 23, 2018

Container Shipping Line Acquires Stake in Major Logistics and Freight Forwarding Outfit

French Group Grabs a Quarter of Troubled Multinational Operation
Shipping News Feature
FRANCE – SWITZERLAND – WORLDWIDE – CMA CGM has reached an agreement to acquire an equity stake of nearly 25% of Ceva Logistics, which is being listed on the Swiss stock market. Container shipping line CMA CGM aims to grow its presence in the logistics sector with this commitment to invest between CHF380 and CHF450 million in the freight forwarding group, as the Dutch headquartered company looks to recover some of its losses from recent years

CMA CGM has committed to subscribe up to CHF450 million (approximately $462 million) for mandatory convertible securities of Ceva, which will be convertible into Ceva common shares subject to regulatory approvals. This equity investment takes place in connection with Ceva’s planned initial public offering on the SIX Swiss Exchange, and remains conditional upon its successful completion.

A global leader in logistics and with more than 56,000 employees and temporary/agency workers in 160 countries, Ceva posted revenues of over 7 billion dollars in 2017 and is ranked fifth in contract logistics globally, providing end-to-end supply chain solutions, and managing more than 9 million square metres of warehousing in more than 750 sites around the world. It is also ranked 10th in the world in freight forwarding, with a strong footprint in Asia. Its long-standing blue-chip customer base includes leading players in the automobile, consumer & retail (including e-commerce), industrial & aerospace, technology and healthcare sectors.

Following this equity investment, CMA CGM will nominate two members to Ceva’s Board of Directors. The two companies have agreed to explore potential opportunities to work together towards the development of joint commercial offerings, according to terms that will be defined in the coming months. Commenting on the proposed transaction, Rodolphe Saadé, Chairman and CEO of CMA CGM stated:

“With this proposed investment in Ceva, CMA CGM makes a significant move, in line with its development strategy. Ceva is a major player in the logistics business, which is closely related to the shipping industry. Together, the two companies will also explore possible co-operations allowing us to propose an ever more differentiated and qualitative offering while integrating services beyond maritime transport.”

Ceva today is already the result of a series of takeover deals starting life as Australian Thomas Nationwide Transport (TNT), bought by Dutch postal operator KPN after immense global expansion, then by a New York venture capitalist group which later merged it with Texan logistics firm EGL. The closing of the current transaction remains subject to the completion of Ceva’s IPO as well as to the approval from regulatory authorities.

The new deal puts CMA CGM in a similar position to container shipping rival Maersk which owns the Damco operation which it acquired in 2005. This leaves the first and third largest global box carriers each with a foot in the freight forwarding industry.