Bolloré to sell its African logistics to the Italian-Swiss group MSC

We were expecting the French CMA CGM or the Danish Maersk, it is finally the Italian-Swiss MSC which has set its sights on the logistics activities of the Bolloré group in Africa. The Frenchman announced, Monday, December 20, the signing of an exclusive agreement with the second largest maritime carrier in the world in order to cede him port terminals, rail concessions and other warehouses in Central and West Africa for 5.7 billion d ‘euros (including debt). The buyer, owned by the Aponte family, has until March 31 to submit a promise to purchase to the Bolloré group.

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Certain proposals cannot be refused. When The world revealed, on October 15, 2021, that the Morgan Stanley bank was probing the appetite of potential buyers for the Bolloré Africa Logistics division, the historic activity of the Breton group, a valuation of around 2 billion to 3 billion euros was mentioned by the experts. But that was without counting on the frenzy of redemptions that drives the giants of the seas, engaged in a real arms race aimed at controlling the entire logistics chain, from container ships to ports. An offensive strategy financed by the manna which is pouring out on them thanks to the soaring freight rates, linked to the tensions on the supply chains after the pandemic.

In two months, the Marseille-based CMA CGM has made two acquisitions worth more than 2 billion euros each. On November 3, it took over Fenix ​​Marine Services, the third largest terminal in Los Angeles and one of the largest in North America. On December 8, he acquired part of the American Ingram Micro CLS and its 59 warehouses located in the United States and Europe.

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For its part, on its website, MSC boasts of owning, in addition to its fleet of 550 vessels, its own ports: “Thanks to these ‘in-house’ terminals, we are able to give priority to certain vessels when necessary, which gives us better control of the supply chain. “

Take advantage of high valuation

For Cyrille Bolloré, to whom his father handed over the management of the family group, it is an opportunity to take advantage of a high valuation, in a profession where competition is intensifying and where investment needs are increasing. But not only. It is also for the company to draw the consequences of its legal troubles. In February 2021, Vincent Bolloré admitted his guilt for acts of active bribery of a foreign public official and complicity in breach of trust in Africa. The Bolloré group was suspected of having paid for the services of Havas, a subsidiary of Vivendi, provided during the electoral campaigns of the Togolese and Guinean presidents, in exchange for advantages concerning the ports of Lomé and Conakry.

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Bolloré to sell its African logistics to the Italian-Swiss group MSC