CMA CGM’s board of directors has appointed the shipping company’s current chief executive officer, Rodolphe Saadé, to serve as both chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the CMA CGM Group, and his father, Jacques Saadé, as founder chairman.
Rodolphe Saadé was named chief executive officer of the Marseilles-based firm back in February, and prior to that, he served as executive officer of the company. Rodolphe succeeded founder Jacques as CEO, who continued on as chairman of the company.
Rodolphe Saadé initially joined CMA CGM in 1994 in the United States, after founding a company selling water coolers in the Middle East. He then worked in Hong Kong before coming back to Marseilles to head a shipping service linking North China to Japan.
From 1997 to 2000, he was in charge of a succession of different services.
In 2008, when a CMA CGM subsidiary cruise yacht was hijacked, he led negotiations with the pirates, which ended in the release of hostages.
In 2009, he took over responsibility of the group’s financial restructuring, while in 2015 and 2016, he led the company’s effort to acquire NOL/APL and negotiations to create the OCEAN Alliance, which commenced operations at the beginning of April.
“To prepare the future, last February 7th, I appointed Rodolphe Saadé to the position of Chief Executive Officer,” Jacques Saadé said. “His strategy has delivered very good operational and financial results. The Group is strong. I am very confident in its future. That is why I have decided to entrust to Rodolphe the Chairmanship of the Group in addition to his current responsibilities as CEO. He has the full support of the Board of Directors, the management team and the 29,000 employees with whom he will pursue the development of the CMA CGM Group, to which I dedicated my entire life.”
The latest news came as CMA CGM reported a consolidated net income of $323 million for the third quarter of 2017, a considerable turnaround from the $268 million loss during the same 2016 period and a 47.5 percent increase from $219 million the prior quarter. Revenues for the quarter jumped 27.7 percent year-over-year to $5.7 billion, according to the company’s most recent financial statements.
The French ocean carrier attributed the strong growth in revenues and positive earnings primarily to an 11.6 percent increase in container volumes carried to 4.98 million TEUs thanks to strong growth in volumes carried through the OCEAN Alliance and on the Asia-U.S. and Asia-Europe routes, as well as on most of its north-south and intraregional routes. An increase in freight rates at the beginning of the year has continued through the third quarter, the firm said, spurring a 14.4 percent increase in average revenue per container carried.
Through the first three quarters of 2017, CMA CGM posted a total net income of $629 million.
Highlights of the third quarter included:
• The July 25 signing of a 25-year agreement for the operation of a container terminal in Cameroon, alongside Bolloré Transport & Logistics and the Chinese group CHEC, which will enable CMA CGM to strengthen trading on routes to and from Africa;
• The Sept. 14 announcement of a partnership with Aix-Marseille French Tech, through which CMA CGM said it intends to contribute to the development of the region’s already intense digital ecosystem and continue its digital transformation;
• The Sept. 19 signing of an order for nine containerships of 22,000 TEUs that will be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG), for which delivery will begin in 2020;
In light of the firm’s results, as well as due to an improved outlook for the shipping industry, the rating agency Standard & Poor’s upgraded the CMA CGM Group’s rating to B+ with a stable outlook; also recently, Moody’s adopted a positive outlook of its B1 rating.
On July 9, the firm raised 650 million euros on the bond markets to refinance the NOL 2017 bond, and in anticipation, the CMA CGM 2018 bond. It also negotiated a new revolving credit facility of $205 million, which has since been increased to $285 million.
Operating performance for the full year 2017 is expected to show a strong improvement over that of 2016, the company said.
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