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France's CMA CGM gets firm commitment from banks to fund NOL takeover: sources

The world’s largest container ship, sailing under the French flag, the CMA CGM Jules Verne arrives, on June 3, 2013 in the port of Marseille, southern France.

[PARIS] French shipping firm CMA CGM has obtained firm commitments from banks to finance the takeover of Singapore's Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), which has a market value of US$2.2 billion, two people familiar with the deal said.

CMA CGM, which is in exclusive talks to buy a nearly 67 per cent stake in NOL from state investor Temasek Holdings, has tapped lenders including HSBC, BNP Paribas and JPMorgan to help finance the transaction through a syndication process, the sources said.

As the talks approach a Dec 7 deadline, NOL shares are hovering close to their highest level since February 2013.

Family-owned CMA CGM is ranked as the world's third-largest container shipping firm and a takeover of NOL would boost its position on trans-Pacific routes.

CMA CGM, NOL, Temasek and the banks declined to comment.