CMA CGM Group has secured a €1.05bn (US$1.13bn) loan guaranteed up to 70% by the French state, as part of the government’s loan scheme established at the end of March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The syndicated loan, which is from a consortium of three banks comprising BNP Paribas, HSBC and Société Générale, has an initial one-year maturity and an extension option for up to five additional years.
Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of the CMA CGM Group, said: “I would like to thank the French authorities for having introduced this scheme so effectively and quickly.
“This loan also shows the confidence our banking partners have in the CMA CGM Group’s business model and strategy. In the context of this unprecedented crisis, controlling the supply chain has become crucial.”
The French carrier believes that the new funding will strengthen its cash position in order to confront uncertainties in the global economy resulting from the health crisis and lockdown measures in numerous countries.
At this stage, the Group anticipates a limited slowdown in its activity over the near term, with an estimated decrease in market volumes of 10% in the first half of 2020 compared to the first half of 2019.
Saadé added: “Looking ahead, we will apply this same know-how to support the recovery of the French and global economy. The current crisis supports our view that globalisation should be rethought, based on more balanced and more environmentally friendly forms of trade.”
When the first wave of COVID-19 hit China, the Group implemented several measures including stepping up the cost reduction program for both maritime operations (ports and vessels) and logistics operations (adapting warehouse activities).
It also took steps to protect the health and ensuring the safety of its employees, both on land and at sea and to reorganise and adjust maritime services to the needs of its customers.
Since the lockdown was lifted across large parts of France on May 11, the company has introduced new safeguards for employees returning to work at Group head office in Marseille, including temperature checks by a thermal camera, an obligation to wear face masks, general availability of hand sanitiser, closure of meeting rooms and disinfection of the offices.
The company has so far transported several hundred million masks and medical supplies that are essential in responding to the coronavirus pandemic.