French shipping line, CMA CGM, has announced an impressive set of 2014 results, featuring 8.1% container volume growth, a 5.3% increase in revenue and a 43.2% leap in consolidated net profit growth.
During a conference call, vice-chairman of CMA CGM Group, Rodolphe Saadé, said the company would be “open” to merger and acquisition opportunities and the possibility of an initial public offering (IPO).
He added that the firm would consider adding “more players to the Ocean Three” and “time would tell” whether line Hamburg Sud would become the fourth collaborator.
Speculation has focused on the German line following a number of recent specific vessel agreements involving CMA CGM, Hamburg Sud and fellow Ocean Three member, United Arab Shipping Company (UASC).
Annual figures revealed that volumes carried were up to 12.2m teu from 11.3m teu the previous year, boosted by sustained growth on the Asia-North Europe and Asia-North Africa trades, the reorganisation of CMA CGM and Delmas’ Africa lines combined with the opening of new inland corridors and dry ports.
Other contributing factors included the US economy’s resurgence and the expansion of the ANL subsidiary, specialised in Asia-Pacific trades, which increased volumes carried on existing lines and opened new shipping services.
Saadé described the company’s performance as “extremely robust”, claiming it had delievered “one of the industry’s highest margins and an even healthier balance sheet”.
The world’s third largest line took the opportunity to confirm it “is currently finalising the order of three additional new-build 20,600 teu vessels to be delivered in 2017”.
Over 2015, the company will further strengthen its fleet with the delivery of six new 18,000 teu vessels, 12 ships of 9,400 teu capacity under long-term charter and three group-owned 2,100 teu GuyanaMax vessels.
The shipping line’s latest figures showed that revenue increased from $15.9bn in 2013 to $16.7bn last year while consolidated net profit jumped significantly from $408m to $584m.