21– 27 March 2001

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CMA-CGM to bid for stake in Malta Freeport

By David Lindsay

French shipping line, CMA-CGM, which conducts a high-volume transhipment operation from the Malta Freeport, is rumoured by experts as being ready and willing to bid for a stake in the two terminals at the Freeport, once it is up for privatisation.

The company is also considering the acquisition of minority stakes in several container terminals to achieve better control over the movement of traffic and is also considering a move into terminals in Port Kelang, Le Havre and Kingston.

The revelation comes following the news that the group is expected to announce record profits for last year come April, while it is also expected to unveil a significant move into the logistics business.

According to the Journal of Commerce, the carrier is thought to have made net profits of 600 million French francs (Lm37 million) on revenue of FF13 billion (Lm115 million), compared with earnings of Lm22 million on revenue of Lm63 million in 1999 - while only suffering losses on its Caribbean route.

The group is expanding heavily and has, in fact, recently entered the cruise market as general agents of Renaissance Cruises in France, with the aim of offering a wide range of sea and river cruises and adventure holidays replying to the demands of the French tourist market.

As part of Malta's privatisation process, the Malta International Airport recently appointed BNP Paribas, the largest listed banking group in France, as lead advisors for the airport's privatisation process.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt