CMA CGM wants to delay the delivery of 49 ships it has ordered and is scheduled to receive within the next three years, its CEO Rodolphe Saade said Monday.
"Our first objective is to obtain the delay of the delivery of those ships" and an agreement on a payment schedule, Saade said in an interview in Les Echos, according to Agence France Presse.
He said CMA CGM’s revenue fell almost 30 percent in the first half of this year as shipping volume and tariffs fell during the global economic crisis.
"We stood up better than our competitors," said Saade, although the company plunged into the red with a net loss of $515 million dollars in the first six months.
In 2008, CMA CGM earned a profit of $123 million, down 87 percent from the prior year, on revenue of $15 billion. It is expected to post a loss for 2009.
The heavily-indebted French company now owes $5.6 billion. A steering committee including banks and financial institutions is drafting a plan to return the company to profitability next year and secure its long-term future.
The French carrier has 60 large new container ships on order that are scheduled for delivery through 2012. As part of an effort to conserve cash, CMA CGM said it will continue to try to renegotiate and in some cases cancel “certain ship deliveries.”
CMA CGM has a fleet of 91 owned and 272 chartered ships with a combined capacity of more than 1 billion 20-foot equivalent units.
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