The global shipping line, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), seeks to diversify its activities further to include overland transportation, logistics and a growing portfolio of port terminal investments by acquiring Bolloré Africa logistics business unit.
The Bolloré Group is holding talks with container shipping giant MSC over the sale of its African logistics division valued at $6.4 billion.
MSC Group, a Swiss-Italian container shipping line, was offered the African assets of the logistics unit of Bolloré, a company founded by the family of French billionaire Vincent Bolloré.
“Bolloré Group has granted the MSC Group an exclusivity until March 31, 2022 to enable MSC, further to an additional due diligence phase and contractual negotiations, to submit a put option,” the company said.
A put option contract gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to sell a certain amount of the underlying asset, at a set price within a specific time.
“The Bolloré Group’s decision to exercise this put option and the signature of the relevant agreements may only take place after the employee representative bodies have been informed and consulted and certain internal reorganisation operations have been carried out within the Bolloré Group,” the company said in a statement.
Completion of the sale would require the approval of regulatory and competition authorities, as well as of certain counterparties of Bolloré Africa Logistics.
The announcement this month put an end to speculation on whether Bolloré was planning to exit the African market by selling its assets.
Bolloré, with much of its business centred around shipping, has a presence in 42 ports and operates in 16 container terminal concessions, seven ferry terminals, two wood terminals and a river terminal, plus a conventional stevedoring activity.
The Group has a network of 85 maritime agencies in 74 African agencies in 32 countries. And in logistics, the company has a presence in 47 countries and manages all administrative and customs procedures for its customers both before and after transportation, for import and export, and manages the carriage of goods to their final destination.
Bolloré Africa Logistics claims to be the largest transport and logistics operator in Africa, where it has a network of 250 subsidiaries and almost 21,000 employees in 49 countries, including 47 in Africa.
MSC’s quest to acquire Bolloré Group Africa’s investments will increase competition to maintain its position as a global shipping company after it was recognised as the world’s largest containership company by capacity ahead of Maersk Company, which has been holding the position for decades.
Data analysts and consultancy Alphaliner updated its ranking of the Top 100 and for the first time reflects MSC in the lead position ahead of Maersk by just 1,888 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEUs), a small fraction of its nearly 4.3 million TEU total capacity.
MSC is currently present in 155 countries and facilitates international trade between the world’s major economies, and among emerging markets across all continents.
Founded in 1970 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, since 1978, MSC is a privately-owned organisation driven by the Aponte family and does not announce each transaction, leaving industry analysts to link the company to construction orders, charters, and second-hand tonnage.
A world leader in container shipping, MSC has evolved from a one vessel operation into a globally-respected business with a fleet of 600 vessels and more than 100,000 staff.
MSC calls at 500 ports on 230+ trade routes, carrying some 23 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) annually, via a modern fleet equipped with the latest green technologies.