CMA CGM, Subsidiary Ceva to Buy UK Logistics Firm Wincanton

French Shipping Giant Continuing Ceva Logistics Expansion into UK
Wincanton fuel tanker
A Wincanton petrol tanker at the Kingsbury Fuel Terminal near Tamworth, U.K. (Darren Staples/Bloomberg News)

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French shipping giant CMA CGM SA agreed to buy U.K. logistics company Wincanton Plc, part of the billionaire Saade family’s buying spree to diversify its transport operations.

The world’s third-largest container line reached a deal that values Wincanton at about 566.9 million euros ($719 million) on a fully diluted basis, according to a statement Jan. 19. The agreement is through Ceva Logistics, a subsidiary of Marseille, France-based CMA CGM.

The acquisition is part of Ceva’s expansion in the U.K. that will give it expertise in the grocery and consumer sectors, according to the statement.

CMA CGM ranks No. 7 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest global freight companies, and subsidiary Ceva Logistics ranks No. 14 on the TT100 list of the largest logistics companies in North America.

CMA CGM Chief Executive Officer Rodolphe Saade has expanded rapidly in recent years using unprecedented gains made during the pandemic, adding port handling and logistics capabilities as well as building up a stable of media assets.

The Wincanton deal follows a setback in air cargo, however, after the scrapping of a venture with Air France KLM earlier this week due to regulatory hurdles.

The Saade family is worth $24 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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Record profits during the health crisis filled the coffers of the Saades and rival European shipping tycoons like Gianluigi Aponte, founder of Mediterranean Shipping Co., and Klaus-Michael Kuehne, who has stakes in logistics and shipping giants.

The sector has since been hit by a downturn as well as dangerous disruptions in the Red Sea.