Reports: Singapore's NOL Gets Preliminary Purchase Offer from CMA CGM, is Also in Talks with Maersk

Monday November 9, 2015

Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. (NOL), says it is in separate talks with both CMA CGM S.A. (CMA CGM) and A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S (Maersk) over the possible sale of the shipping company that has been valued at S$2.7 billion ($1.9 billion), Bloomberg Business reports.

NOL says that the talks are currently preliminary and no definitive agreement can be promised, reiterating a company statement from earlier this year, saying "NOL has a duty to assess all options to maximize shareholder value and improve its competitiveness."

Although it has not been officially confirmed by the company, CMA CGM is reported to have made a preliminary offer for the company and is now performing due diligence, but according to sources has not been granted exclusivity.

Talks with Maersk over the possible NOL sale are reportedly less advanced, although Maersk has also not officially confirmed any involvement in such discussions.

"We've always said that we will look at everything that comes up for sale in the market but our base strategy is to grow organically," Nils Smedegaard Andersen, Maersk Group's CEO said Friday.

"In general we welcome any consolidation -- that would only be healthy for the container line industry."

In July, NOL issued a statement downplaying reports that majority shareholder Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd. (Temasek) was looking to sell the business for $1.7 billion.

That same month, Drewry asserted that a lack of suitable buyers, unattractive assets, and no apparent urgency to push through a cut price deal meant NOL was unlikely to be sold.