CMA CGM is looking to sell its terminals division – CMA Terminals (CMAT) – to reduce its debt burden, with China Merchants reported to be the frontrunner.
The French container line is seeking to sell CMAT, which owns stakes in 32 terminals, and has appointed former APL ceo Lars Kastrup to lead the sale, according to analyst Alphaliner. CMAT handled volumes of 8.5m teu last year.
However, the analyst highlighted potential difficulties in a sale of some of the assets own by CMAT. “CMA CGM may face difficulties in disposing of some terminals in less strategic locations, while assets in some key ports may not be for sale at all,” it said its weekly newsletter.
“Strategic assets in CMAT’s portfolio are the 49% stake in the CMA CGM – PSA Lion Terminal at Singapore, a 30% stake in the Rotterdam World Gateway terminal, and a 100% stake in the Kingston Freeport Terminal.”
China Merchants has been in talks with CMA CGM to buy terminal assets from the liner company. China Merchants already owns 49% of CMA CGM’s other port operating company Terminal Link.
CMA CGM’s debt burden has increased with expansion over the last 12 months, which have the $1.7bn acquisition of loss making Ceva Logistics and Finnish regional line Containerships. According to Alphaliner CMA CGM’s debt stood at $19.9bn at end March 2019.
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