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French shippers stake $2.4b for Singapore lines shares, target 540 vessels

By Moses Ebosele, with Agency Report
09 June 2016   |   3:24 am
To successfully expand and strengthen its presence in Singapore, French Shipping Line, CMA CGM has unveiled plan to acquire Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), the parent company...

CMA-CGMGhana to import first LNG in 2017

To successfully expand and strengthen its presence in Singapore, French Shipping Line, CMA CGM has unveiled plan to acquire Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), the parent company of ocean liner, APL, for an estimated $2.4 billion.

The French carrier explained that the conditions in its original announcement have been satisfied or waived, adding that it will pay $1.3 (US$0.94) for each NOL share that it does not already own, control or has agreed to acquire.

According to American Shipper, the price represents a 48.6 per cent premium over the price at which NOL shares were traded on the Singapore Stock Exchange immediately preceding the announcement of a potential sale of NOL.

Also, Temasek Holdings, Lentor Investments and Startree Investments, companies affiliated with the Singapore government, have pledged to tender 66.78 per cent of NOL shares.

CMA CGM explained that the acquisition “will create a new global force in shipping which will have a capacity of 2.35 million TEU, a market share of 11.7 per cent, a fleet of 540 vessels, and a combined annual turnover of $21 billion”.

CMA CGM said that it “intends to perform a strategic review encompassing both the NOL Group and the current CMA CGM Group with a view to deleveraging the combined group further to the offer with the objective to sell assets in the aggregate amount of at least US$1 billion.”
It added: “Further to this strategic review, CMA CGM may also consider redeploying certain ships among trade lanes with a view to optimising fleet usage.”

Under the planned acquisition, Nicolas Sartini would become the new chief executive officer of NOL, while NOL’s current Chief Executive Officer and group president, Ng Yat Chung, will remain an executive director.

Meanwhile, Ghana expects to start importing Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) early next year, the acting chief executive of Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), Alex Mould has said, adding that it was in discussion with a range of traders.

Mould said GNPC is in the market for between 250 million and 500 million standard cubic feet (SCF) of gas per day to be used to help generate power in the West African country.

Reuters quoted Mould as saying “GNPC will be buying the LNG from traders, mostly on a short-term basis because there is an abundance of LNG. We are talking to Qatargas, BP, Shell, Woodside, the usual suspects, to enter into some sort of agreement with them.”

In a related development, Reuters discloded that that Norwegian shipping company Golar LNG has already supplied a floating terminal to the Atlantic coast port of Tema “but sources said there are logistical issues causing uncertainty over when it will start up”.

Imported LNG is to be regasified using a dedicated floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) moored off shore.“First gas imports are estimated at end of first quarter of next year,” Mould said.

He said officials would be viewing the FSRU, built by South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries, in September with “hook-up” plans already in place to help ensure ship-to-ship LNG transfers.

The Ghanaian subsidiary of Quantum Pacific, the industrial investment group owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer, also plans to install a second terminal at Tema.