NOL delists from SGX today as buyout closes

NOL ships under the APL brand. To turn the loss-making NOL around, CMA CGM vice-chairman Rodolphe Saade has said the group plans to sell US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) in assets to strengthen its balance sheet. As part of the acquisition, the French s
NOL ships under the APL brand. To turn the loss-making NOL around, CMA CGM vice-chairman Rodolphe Saade has said the group plans to sell US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) in assets to strengthen its balance sheet. As part of the acquisition, the French shipping giant has said it will move around one-third of its traffic through the Klang port in Malaysia to Singapore.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

French shipping giant CMA CGM says it has acquired all shares held by investors who did not accept general offer

Shares of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) - now a wholly owned unit of French shipping giant CMA CGM - will be delisted from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) with effect from 9am today.

CMA CGM yesterday said it has completed the exercise of its rights of compulsory acquisition of all NOL shares held by shareholders who did not accept the all-cash voluntary conditional general offer.

It paid $1.30 per share - the same as the offer price.

CMA CGM added that the transfer of all the remaining shares that have been compulsorily acquired has been effected and payment for such shares has been despatched.

NOL had obtained the necessary SGX waivers and approval for its delisting yesterday. In June, Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings sold its 66.8 per cent majority stake in NOL to CMA CGM.

CMA CGM's $3.38 billion buyout of NOL, announced late last year, is one of the largest deals to have taken place in the highly fragmented industry amid a severe downturn.

Against this backdrop, NOL has been grappling with rising debt levels and sluggish global demand.

The company, founded in 1968 as Singapore's national flag carrier, was profitable for only five years over the past decade. It racked up more than $1.5 billion in losses, although it reduced its losses year on year.

CMA CGM vice-chairman Rodolphe Saade has said the group will focus on turning the loss-making NOL around, which includes plans to sell US$1 billion (S$1.35 billion) in assets to strengthen its balance sheet.

The industry's third-largest player last week reported a US$128 million net loss for the second quarter, compared with a profit of US$156 million in the year before, as it integrates NOL into its fold.

As part of the acquisition, CMA CGM has said it will move around one-third of its traffic through the Klang port in Malaysia to Singapore. It has also shifted its regional headquarters from Hong Kong to here.

Separately, CMA CGM and PSA Singapore Terminals have formed a joint venture to operate and use four container berths at Pasir Panjang terminal Phases 3 and 4.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2016, with the headline 'NOL delists from SGX today as buyout closes'. Print Edition | Subscribe