CMA CGM bolsters bank account amid ‘high uncertainty’ during pandemic

The CMA CGM Group said Thursday it had finalized the sale of its stakes in eight port terminals, reducing its debt and improving its liquidity.

The French carrier announced in November it would sell its stakes to Terminal Link, a joint venture it created in 2013 with China Merchants Port (CMP) and of which it owns 51%. Terminal Link currently holds stakes in 13 port terminals.

CMA CGM sold its stakes in Odessa Terminal in Ukraine; CMA CGM PSA Lion Terminal, Singapore; Kingston Freeport Terminal, Jamaica; Rotterdam World Gateway, the Netherlands; Qingdao Qianwan United Advance Container Terminal, China; Vietnam International Container Terminal, Ho Chi Minh City; Laem Chabang International Terminal, Thailand; and Umm Qasr Terminal, Iraq.

CMA CGM said the sale is part of the $2.1 billion liquidity plan it announced in November. It said at the time the plan was to reduce the company’s consolidated debt by more than $1.3 billion in the first half of 2020.

The company said the sale of its interest in the terminals also “strengthens its balance sheet amidst the high uncertainty created by the global Covid-19 health crisis. While the crisis has had a limited impact in the first quarter of 2020, the Group expects a decline in volumes, particularly outbound to Europe and the United States.”

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rodolphe Saadé said the closing of the transaction during the pandemic “demonstrates the resilience of the CMA CGM Group.”

CMA CGM said last year it would divest to help finance its acquisition of CEVA Logistics.