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CMA CGM to buy Brazilian line Mercosul from Maersk

[PARIS] Container shipping firm CMA CGM is to acquire Brazil's Mercosul Line from global market leader Maersk Line in a bid to boost its development in South America, France-based CMA CGM said on Tuesday.

The deal followed Denmark-based Maersk's decision this year to sell Mercosul to obtain clearance in Brazil for its purchase of German peer Hamburg Sud, part of a wave of consolidation in a sector hit by low freight rates and oversupply of vessels.

Financial details of the Mercosul deal, which is subject to the closure of Maersk's takeover of Hamburg Sud, were not disclosed.

Mercosul has a fleet of four ships that operate in Brazil and elsewhere in South America, and generated US$128 million in sales last year, CMA CGM said in a statement. "The acquisition of Mercosul would allow CMA CGM to strengthen its service offering to and from South America, most notably in Brazil, a market with a strong potential for development," it said.

In addition to integrating Mercosul, expected to start in the fourth quarter, CMA CGM said it planned to expand in South America by reinforcing services between South America, North Europe and the Mediterranean and by increasing its port coverage in the region.

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CMA CGM, the world's third-largest container line, has played a leading role in sector consolidation through its US$2.4 billion takeover of Singapore-based NOL, which gave it leadership on trans-Pacific routes.

The family-owned firm swung back to profit in the final quarter of last year after heavy losses earlier in 2016, and like its peers has pointed to improving conditions this year.


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