CMA CGM’s LNG-powered giant sets world record

The 23,000 TEU CMA CGM Jacques Saade, the world’s largest LNG-powered containership, has set a world record for the number of full containers loaded on a single vessel.

On its departure from Singapore on 12 October, the new flagship of the French shipping major CMA CGM was carrying a record 20,723 full containers onboard.

Image Courtesy: CMA CGM

After joining the group’s fleet on 22 September, the CMA CGM Jacques Saade is now on its maiden voyage on CMA CGM’s French Asia Line (FAL 1), connecting Asia with Europe.

It was when the giant boxship made its call in Singapore that it broke the world record in terms of the number of containers carried on a single vessel. This has been described by CMA CGM as “a major operational and commercial achievement” for a vessel designed to preserve air quality and accelerate energy transition in the shipping industry.

CMA CGM’s online services restored following cyber attack

The new world record set by the CMA CGM containership comes two weeks after the group suffered a cyber attack. The attack that occurred on 28 September was impacting CMA CGM’s peripheral servers.

Following the attack, the group interrupted all internal access to its network and computer application in order to isolate the malware and take protective measures.

In the latest update shared on 11 October, CMA CGM informed that all its e-commerce sites are once again live with all their main functionalities up and running.

In addition, all communications to and from the group are secure, including emails, transmitted files and electronic data interchanges.

“All our agencies as well as our back-office are now fully operational,” the company said.

CMA CGM selling bond to repay debt

The French shipping group made another important announcement this week by launching an offering of €525 million (about $617 million) in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2026.

As disclosed, they will be used to refinance the senior unsecured bonds maturing in January 2021.

“The company intends to use the net proceeds from the notes, together with available cash on hand, to redeem all of its outstanding 7.750% Senior Notes due 2021 at 100% of the outstanding principal amount thereof, plus accrued interest thereon to the date of redemption, and to pay fees and expenses in connection with the offering,” the container shipping company explained.

At the end of the second quarter 2020, the company’s adjusted net debt amounted to about $17.06 million.

In early 2020, the company was in discussions to refinance its accumulated debt. However, the coronavirus pandemic slowed down CMA CGM’s plans.

In May, CMA CGM secured a €1.05 billion syndicated loan, arranged by a consortium of banks BNP Paribas, HSBC France and Société Générale and 70% percent guaranteed by the French Government.

Earlier this month, CMA CGM received a positive boost from credit rating agencies.

S&P Global Ratings revised CMA CGM’s outlook to positive on expected stronger financial performance, affirming the company’s B+ ratings.

Furthermore, rating agency Moody’s changed the outlook for CMA CGM on all ratings from negative to positive on 12 October.

Moody’s Investors Service affirmed the B2 corporate family rating (CFR) and the B2-PD probability of default rating (PDR) of CMA CGM, as well as the Caa1 senior unsecured rating. Moody’s also assigned a Caa1 rating on the proposed new €525 million senior unsecured bonds.

“Today’s (12 Oct) rating action reflects a strong operating performance and an improvement in credit metrics as well as an improvement of CMA’s liquidity profile with a reduction of refinancing risks,” Moody’s said.

“(T)he liquidity profile benefitted from raising debt guaranteed by the French state, which clearly shows its support to the company.” 

“Adding a high likelihood that 2021 will at least be a stable year for container shipping, Moody’s foresee an intact or even improving liquidity profile for CMA going forward, supported by continued positive free cash flow generation.”

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