Hot stock update: NOL slips after morning gains

SHARES of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) were in active play on Tuesday after the shipping firm announced a S$3.4 billion takeover offer from France's CMA CGM.

At 10.20am, the stock fell half a cent to S$1.22, reversing from early-morning gains. With nearly 40 million shares changing hands, it is the second most actively traded stock after Blumont.

The deal announced on Monday, the largest in the container shipping space in years, will allow Temasek Holdings-controlled NOL, which has been bleeding red ink for four straight years, significant girth to scale up and compete with its bigger rivals.

At S$1.30 a piece - 6 per cent higher than NOL's close last Friday prior to Monday's trading halt - and 0.94 times over its last reported book value of S$1.38 per share, analysts by and large deemed the deal as fair, considering NOL's losses and the headwinds facing the sector.

If the deal pans out according to the plan's timeline, South-east Asia's largest container shipping firm NOL will be delisted next year - 35 years after it became Singapore's first wholly owned government entity to be listed on SGX. It was listed then at S$4 a share.

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