The Board of Directors of France’s CMA CGM Group, a leading worldwide shipping group, met under the chairmanship of Jacques R. Saadé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, to review the financial statements for the second quarter of 2015.

In the second quarter, CMA CGM demonstrated the strength of its business model by significantly outperforming the market, despite a sharp fall in freight rates and industry overcapacity:

  • Volumes carried during the second quarter increased by 6.2% year-on-year, to 3.3 million TEUs, compared to global market volume growth of between 1% and 2%.
  • Average revenue per container carried decreased by 7.8%. However, this decrease was significantly less than benchmark indices for the period due to the broad diversity of the Group’s customers and lines.
  • Unit costs fell 10.9%, largely due to the sharp fall in oil prices.
  • Core EBIT surged 59.3% compared to the second quarter of 2014 to $325 million, as the Group’s lower unit costs outpaced the decline in average revenue per container carried. The core EBIT margin of 7.9% was once again significantly above peer averages.
  • Consolidated net profit group Share came to $156 million, up 66.7% on second-quarter 2014.

During the first half of 2015, volumes carried were up 8.2% to 6.4 million TEUs, revenue was stable at $8.1 billion and net profit almost tripled to $562 million.

CMA CGM further strengthened its financial position, with adjusted net debt representing less than 50% of consolidated equity as of 30 June 2015.

In May 2015, Moody’s upgraded the Group’s credit rating to B1 with a positive outlook.

In June 2015, CMA CGM extended the maturity of its debt with the issuance of a €725 million bond maturing in 2021. This issuance allowed CMA CGM to refinance in anticipation the outstanding bonds maturing in 2017 and 2019.

During the second quarter, the Group continued to upgrade its services in fast-growing markets and to adapt its offering with the aim of unlocking growth potential and better meeting the needs of its customers. It reported vigorous growth in its lines to and from the US (reflecting among other factors the weakness in the euro, which boosted European exports to the US) and in reefer cargoes.

CMA CGM won the 30-year concession to operate the Kingston (Jamaica) container terminal, which will become the Group’s regional hub for the Panama Canal expansion scheduled for completion in 2016.

Two new 9,400-TEU vessels joined the Group’s fleet: CMA CGM Tage and CMA CGM Thames. These vessels are designed to operate within the expanded Panama Canal and are currently positioned on fast-developing lines. During the period, the Group also took delivery of CMA CGM Kerguelen and CMA CGM Georg Forster, the first two vessels in the 18,000-TEU series.

CMA CGM continued to develop its logistics subsidiary CMA CGM LOG, with the acquisition of a 60% stake in LCL Logistix, a logistics leader in India, and the signature of a framework agreement regarding a new logistics platform in Cuba.

Recent developments and Outlook

On 1 July 2015, CMA CGM signed two major agreements at an event in Marseille attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Laurent Fabius, French Minister of Foreign Affairs: a $1 billion financing solutions framework agreement with Chinese bank CEXIM and a partnership with China Merchants (CMHI) as part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” program, a strategic initiative backed by the Chinese government to develop infrastructure and logistics projects.

Since 1 July, CMA CGM has taken delivery of two 2,100-TEU vessels deployed on lines to Guyana, along with a 9,300-TEU and 18,000 TEU vessel. In the coming weeks, the Group will take delivery of one 2,100-TEU vessel, one 9,300-TEU vessel, and two 18,000-TEU vessels, including CMA CGM Bougainville, set to become the largest container ship sailing under the French flag.

Also on 1 July, the Group closed the acquisition of OPDR, a shipping company specialising in intra-European multimodal solutions, after the transaction was cleared by the European Commission. OPDR will help solidify the market position of Group subsidiary MacAndrews, which is already active in this segment.

The CMA CGM Group obtains the Containers Terminal concession of Kribi (Cameroun) for 25 years.

During the third quarter, freight rates are expected to remain particularly volatile for Asia-Europe and Asia-Mediterranean lines. As a result, CMA CGM will continue to adjust its capacities. CMA CGM expects to continue to outperform the market and deliver profitability above the industry average thanks to the core strengths of its business model: a high quality fleet, broadly diverse lines, responsiveness and commercial dynamism.