Monday, November 9, 2009

CMA CGM Seeks Credit Line

Ocean carrier CMA CGM is looking to shore up company operations with a $400 million loan as the carrier attempts to restructure its $5.6 billion in debt.

The family-owned Marseille, France-based carrier is looking for the additional credit line as founder and CEO Jacques Saadé has reportedly agreed "in principle" to changes in governance demanded by creditors that hold $4 billion of the firm's outstanding debt, according to French weekly business magazine Challenges. These changes include Saadé's ouster, an agreement to look for outside investors and renegotiation of 49 outstanding ship construction orders.

Two weeks ago, when media reports of the creditors' demands for his ouster surfaced, Saadé openly denied them.

“I can’t imagine that any of our financial partners would try to take advantage of this period,” Saadé said, especially considering that CMA-CGM expects to move into the black “in coming months.”

CMA CGM, the third-largest carrier in the world, spent $1.2 billion in operating expenses during the first half of the year. The firm reportedly had remaining reserves as of June 30 of $599 million, or $601 million short of the total amount needed to operate in the first six months of the year.