PARIS, July 3 (Reuters) - French container shipping firm CMA CGM said on Monday it had agreed to sell a 90 percent stake in a Los Angeles terminal to infrastructure funds for $817 million in cash.
CMA CGM will retain a 10 percent interest in the Global Gateway South terminal after the deal with funds EQT Infrastructure and its partner P5 Infrastructure, the company said in a statement.
The terminal came under CMA CGM’s ownership through its 2015 takeover of Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), a $2.4 billion deal that marked the Marseille-based group’s biggest-ever acquisition.
CMA CGM said the sale would help it pay down debts following the NOL takeover and that it was part of its strategy of focusing on shipping. At the time of the NOL takeover, CMA CGM said it aimed to make divestments of $1 billion after reviewing assets.
The acquisition of NOL, which operated under the commercial name APL, handed CMA CGM market leadership in trans-Pacific routes, with a strong presence on the U.S. west coast.
The NOL acquisition was part of a wider consolidation in the container shipping industry in the midst of a deep downturn in the past few years due to overcapacity and faltering global economic growth.
CMA CGM has posted a profit since the end of last year, supported by a recovery in NOL’s operating results.
BNP Paribas and HSBC acted as financial advisors on the deal, CMA CGM said. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz; writing by Leigh Thomas, editing by David Evans)