CMA CGM in talks to acquire La Méridionale

French container shipping major CMA CGM Group has entered into exclusive discussions with STEF Group to acquire 100% of La Méridionale, a mixed freight and passenger shipping company based in Marseille.

Illustration; Image by Navingo

“With this acquisition, CMA CGM Group wishes to pursue its development in the Mediterranean, while strengthening the position of the port of Marseille and the French shipping industry,” the company said announcing the talks.

CMA CGM added that it wants to turn around La Méridionale and restore its growth prospects.

To do so, the French heavyweight plans to create commercial complementarities in France and internationally, particularly the RORO service to Morocco, while preserving the jobs of French sailors on board its ships. It will also invest in the shipping company’s fleet and energy transition.

CMA CGM did not provide further details on what the investments might entail.

La Méridionale, created in 1931, now operates a daily freight and passenger service between Corsica and the continent, under a public service delegation with up to 13 crossings per week. The shipping company has also opened a regular line between Marseille and Morocco with weekly services. La Méridionale employs nearly 600 people including 490 seafarers, with a fleet of 4 dedicated mixed vessels: the Pelagos, the Kalliste, the Piana, and the Girolata.

In January 2017, La Méridionale was the first company in France and the Mediterranean to connect its entire fleet of ships to the land power supply during calls at the port of Marseille. In 2019, it was the first company to experiment with a particulate matter filter on its main and auxiliary engines, both at
port and at sea.

The completion of this transaction is conditional upon the signature of the share transfer agreements, after information and consultation of the employee representative bodies, and authorizations from the various competition authorities.