The CMA CGM Marco Polo.

As part of the ongoing consolidation in the ocean freight industry, CMA CGM, a global leader in container shipping based in Marseille, France, said Wednesday it has received confirmation that its pending acquisition of Neptune Orient Lines, Southeast Asia’s largest container shipping company, has been cleared by the Antimonopoly Bureau of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

With regulatory approvals previously received from the European Commission and Indian authorities, CMA CGM said its proposed voluntary cash offer for NOL announced on Dec. 7 is expected to be completed by June 2.

The proposed acquisition of NOL at 1.30 Singapore dollars, or 94 cents at current exchange, per NOL share, represents a 49 percent premium to NOL’s unaffected share price, fully financed.

The companies said the strategic acquisition will result in combined sales of $22 billion and fleet size of 563 vessels. It will create complementary geographical strengths that enhance the diversity of CMA CGM’s trade portfolio and consolidate its position on strategic trade routes.

CMA CGM will establish its regional head office in Singapore, which will reinforce Singapore’s leadership position in the shipping industry and create significant operational synergies.

Last week, CMA reported a net loss of $100 million in the first quarter ended March 31 compared with a net gain of $406 million in the comparable year-ago period. CMA CGM’s revenue fell 15.3 percent to $3.4 billion for the period, compared to revenue of $4 billion in the first quarter of 2015 when the group benefited from more favorable freight rates and volumes.

Freight volume rose 2.9 percent during the first quarter to 3.2 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, or TEUs, from 3.1 million TEUs. CMA said this beat the market, which grew 1.2 percent margin.

In April, CMA CGM said it was forming the Ocean Alliance operational partnership with Cosco Container Lines, Evergreen Lines and Orient Overseas Container Lines. The alliance will boast a fleet of 360 vessels that will operate across 40 shipping lines and will offer high-quality services on major global shipping routes including Asia-Europe, Asia-Mediterranean, Asia-Red Sea, Asia-Middle East, Transpacific, Asia-North America East Coast and Transatlantic. It is expected to be launched in April 2017, following clearance from the regulatory authorities.

CMA CGM’s 450 vessels call at more than 400 ports in the world, across all fives. With a presence in 163 countries through its network of over 426 offices, the company employs 22,000 people worldwide, including 2,400 at its headquarters in Marseille.

Headquartered in Singapore, NOL is the largest shipping company listed on the Singapore Exchange. Its container shipping arm, APL, provides container shipping and terminal services, as well as intermodal operations. APL offers transcontinental cargo shipping across Asia, North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Australia through more than 80 weekly services calling at 160 ports.

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