MSC Buys Bollore’s African Logistics Unit

MSC ship
Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Bloomberg News

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MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. agreed to buy the African transport and logistics business of Bollore SA for 5.7 billion euros ($6.3 billion) including debt.

Geneva-based MSC, the world’s largest container line, has had exclusivity to make a firm offer for the unit since December. The deal is expected to be completed by March 2023 after approvals and other conditions are met, according to a statement.

MSC has been on a spending spree after an unprecedented cargo boom during the COVID crisis vaulted it to the top of the industry. Bollore Africa Logistics is the continent’s biggest player, while separate talks are ongoing for a majority stake in Italy’s ITA Airways, the successor to Alitalia, to bolster air cargo.

READ MORE: World’s Largest Container Line Makes Play for Italian Air Carrier

Bollore, founded by the family of French billionaire Vincent Bollore, put the African unit up for sale last year, Le Monde reported in October. At the time, it suggested that Denmark-based A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S and rival CMA CGM SA of France were interested in bidding for the business, which generated revenue of 2.1 billion euros in 2020.


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Bollore said in December that a sale would take the form of MSC submitting a put option that Bollore could exercise after consulting with employees and completing an internal reorganization. The deal also will require the approval of regulators and counterparties of Bollore Africa Logistics.

The logistics division has almost 21,000 employees in 49 countries, according to the group’s website. It is active in 42 ports, including 16 container terminals, seven roll-on, roll-off ferry ports and two wood terminals. In addition, it has a network of 85 maritime shipping agencies and operates three rail concessions.

Closely held MSC has a fleet of 600 vessels, more than 100,000 staff and serves 500 ports.

Mediterranean Shipping Co. ranks No. 5 on the Transport Topics Top 50 list of the largest global carriers. Bollore Logistics (Americas) ranks No. 10 on the TT Top Airfreight Forwarders list and No. 14 on the Top Ocean Freight Forwarders list.

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