CMA CGM transferred 50 percent of its shares in the Malta Freeport transhipment hub to the Yildirim Group of Turkey, as French ocean carrier restructures in the wake of its financial crisis.
The transfer was approved by the government and Malta Freeport Corporation, according to the Times of Malta.
The Maltese government said that under its contract with Malta Freeport, CMA CGM could transfer up to 49 percent of its shares but needed the government go-ahead to transfer the additional 1 percent.
The Yildirim Group acquired 20 percent of the cash-strapped French carrier in November of last year in return for a $500 million investment.
In authorizing the share transfer, the government laid down that the investment in Malta Freeport must continue until it can handle up to 3 million containers per year. It raised the rent by $10 million for the coming five years, and it also demanded the setting up of a fund $138,000 annually for community initiatives.
The shares were transferred after a due diligence exercise held for the Yildirim Group by the K2 Global Consulting Ltd. Yildirim was set up in 1963 and enjoys a reputation of having a strong financial situation, the government said.
The government said Malta Freeport is a strategic part of the Maltese economy and it wanted to ensure that its operators had the necessary financial clout and technical competence to ensure that Malta Freeport remained a success.