Rodolphe Saadé has helped out his friend Emanuel Macron ahead of the presidential election in France.
The CMA CGM chairman has moved to acquire nearly 100% of GEFCO, an automotive logistics firm whose future had become clouded with uncertainty following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
France-headquartered GEFCO was 75% controlled by state-run Russian Railways, an entity that was quickly sanctioned five weeks ago as the war got underway in eastern Europe. Founded in 1949 as Les Groupages Express de Franche-Comté (GEFCO), Russian Railways came on board as a majority shareholder 10 years ago.
GEFCO today is the number one European leader in finished vehicle logistics and describes itself on its website as a top 10 global partner in multimodal supply chain solutions. It has a network spanning 47 countries and employs around 11,500 staff around the world – with more than 2,500 of them in France.
The acquisition announced today, thought to be worth around $488m, has been submitted to competition authorities for approval. However, as part of a special procedure, the European Commission has authorised CMA CGM to acquire the capital of GEFCO immediately, pending the final approval that will take place in the coming months.
The Marseille-headquartered liner posted a record $18bn profit last year. The year prior, in May of 2020, CMA CGM secured a state loan guarantee linked to the early onset of the coronavirus crisis, with the Macron administration backing a €1.05bn ($1.14bn) loan from BNP Paribas, HSBC France and Société Générale.
Saadé, the chairman and CEO of CMA CGM, commented: “The acquisition of GEFCO represents a further step in our development strategy and strengthens our position as a global player in transport and logistics. With GEFCO, our subsidiary CEVA will become the world leader in automotive logistics and has recently enhanced its capabilities in e-commerce logistics with the acquisition of Ingram Micro CLS. We are creating a French leader to serve our customers around the world.”