CMA CGM is in advanced negotiations for a $150 million cash injection by France’s state investment fund in return for a 6 percent stake in the French ocean container carrier, according to media reports.
The carrier declined to comment on a report in French financial daily Les Echos that said a deal with Fonds Strategique d’ Investissement could be reached by the end of the month.
An FSI stake in CMA CGM, which would effectively make the French state a shareholder, is seen as a key step toward reaching an agreement with the carrier’s banks over restructuring its $4 billion of debt.
Previous negotiations between CMA CGM and FSI broke down because of differences over governance of the family controlled carrier, the world’s third largest.
CMA CGM opened its capital to outsiders for the first time in late 2010 when Turkey’s Yildirim group bought $500 million of the carrier’s bonds in return for a 20 percent equity stake, which it plans to sell after five years.
Family owned Yildirim, which also acquired 50 percent of CMA CGM’s Malta container transshipment terminal, is said to be interested in exercising an option to acquire another 10 percent of the carrier’s equity for $250 million.
CMA CGM has said it expects to sell minority stakes in 14 container terminals by the end of the year.
The Marseilles-based carrier swung to a $178 million net profit in the second quarter from a $74 million loss a year earlier and a $248 million deficit in the first three months of 2012. CMA CGM said in September it's on track to book a full-year profit.
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