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CMA CGM sees small drop in 2015 profit

CMA CGM sees small drop in 2015 profit
CMA CGM reported a small decline in net profit for 2015, and says its planned acquisition of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) is progressing in line with expectations.

The French container line reported a 2.9% decrease in net profit to $567m for 2015 compared to $584m a year earlier. Revenues fell 6.4% to $15.7bn in 2015.

Reflecting the pressure that has been seen on container freight rates while revenues were down volumes were up 6.3% at 13m teu carried in 2015, compared to 12.2m teu a year earlier.

“Our operating performance once again illustrates the strength of our business model and our capacity to adapt. In a challenging market environment, we continued to roll out our strategy while adjusting our cost and financing structure to best effect,” commented Rodolphe Saadé, CMA CGM Group Vice-Chairman.

“The beginning of 2016 was tough and marked by freight rates under pressure. We are therefore strengthening our continuous efforts to adapt and optimize our maritime services as well as our cost reduction programme.”

CMA CGM has become the first line to announce it will deploy 18,000 teu ultra-large container vessels on the transpacific trade after trailing a single such vessel into US west coast ports. It will deploy six 18,000 teu vessels in the transpacific trade from the end of May.

Saadé described its proposed $2.4bn acquisition of NOL as “a decisive new stage in our development”.

“The project is progressing in line with expectations. Combined with our intrinsic capacity to deliver solid operating results, this project will make us more competitive going forward."

While approvals are sought for the takeover CMA CGM has been building a stake in NOL at below its offer price of SGD1.30 per share via open market purchases. As of end Monday it had 4.71% stake in NOL.