CMA CGM raises $250 million in fresh capital


France’s sovereign investment fund, the Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement (FSI), is set to take a 6% stake in French container shipping group, CMA CGM.

The two parties have signed a memorandum of agreement “supporting CMA CGM’s future development”.

The FSI will subscribe to bonds redeemable in shares for US$150 million, giving it a 6% stake in CMA CGM upon conversion. 

At the same time, under the terms of an existing agreement, Yildirim Group, already a shareholder, announced it is to invest $100 million, giving it a further 4% stake in CMA CGM. 

This will increase the Turkish conglomerate’s stake in the Marseille-based group to 24%, and follows its initial acquisition of 20% in November 2010.
FSI executive committe member Thomas Devedjian said: “Our objective [in taking the stake] is to partner CMA CGM towards a stock market listing.”
He said FSI would have a say in the major decisions of the group and a seat on its board.
CMA CGM’s Chairman and CEO, Jacques Saadé, said the agreements were “an important milestone” for the group, which “demonstrates FSI and Yildirim’s level of confidence in its future”.
The deals coincide with CMA CGM’s return to profitability in the second quarter “and the expectation of an even better operating performance in the third quarter, leading to a profit for the full year,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Saadé family itself is reported to have pledged  to invest an additional $100 million in the group, if the situation requires it.
Following the consolidation of CMA CGM’s equity, attention now turns to finalising negotiations with a pool of banks on the restructuring of the group’s debts, estimated at $5 billion.
CMA CGM is the world’s third largest container shipping company and operates a fleet of 394 vessels, employing 18,000 people worldwide.