MSC acquires Bollore Africa for US$6.4 billion

By Jackie Asasira

Swiss maritime company  – Mediterranean Shipping Company- better known by its acronym – MSC-  has confirmed that it has bought off of French Logistics giant, Bollore’ Africa’s unit at a whooping US$6.4 billion (Euro 5.7billion).

The MSC Group said in a statement released March 31 that: “MSC Group confirms that it has entered into a share purchase agreement with Bolloré SE relating to the acquisition of 100% of Bolloré Africa Logistics (including all of Bolloré Group’s shipping, logistics and terminals operations in Africa, as well as its terminal operations in India, Haiti and in Timor-Leste) for a purchase price based on an enterprise value, net of minority interests, of 5.7 billion euros.”

In November last year, The Infrastructure Magazine reported rumours of the intended sale of the Africa operation of the transportation and logistics giant.  At the time, industry players said the French Group was selling its Africa operation – one of its most profitable anywhere, to avert a crisis allegedly orchestrated by a corruption scandal in West Africa.

The statement said, “The signing of this agreement follows a thorough and positive consultation process with representatives of employees of the Bolloré Group. Completion remains subject to receipt of approvals, including from the relevant competition authorities.” 

It said, the acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics reaffirms MSC Group’s longstanding commitment to invest in Africa and to strengthen supply chains across the continent, as well as connecting it to the rest of the world.

Online maritime publications, The Maritime Executive reported that that besides Bolloré Africa Logistics operation, in 47 African countries,  with 16 container terminals, seven ro/ro terminals, two wood terminals, and a river terminal, the sale also included operations in India, Haiti, and Timor-Leste. It reported that the company has almost 41,000 employees including its stevedoring activity.

“The company also operates three rail concessions, Sitarail in Burkina Faso, Camrail in Cameroon, and Benirai in Benin, and a network of 85 maritime agencies that processed 7,100 port visits last year on behalf of the world’s largest shipping lines,” the Magazine reported.

The Maritime Executive said that The French Bolloré Group reportedly decided to put the African logistics business up for sale in 2020 while it was involved in a long-running bribery scandal. In February 2021, Bolloré Group reportedly paid US$14.5 million to settle a related investigation into its Togo operations.

Bollore however said that while it is selling its logistics company it will remain active in other businesses in Africa through its investment in Vivendi which operates communications company Canal+, and will also continue to develop its activities on the African continent in numerous sectors such as communications, entertainment, telecommunications, and publishing.

MSC made its offer for the logistics group in December 2021 and entered into an exclusivity agreement with Bolloré Group to permit additional due diligence and contractual negotiations. Completion of the acquisition is subject to the receipt of approvals, including from the relevant competition authorities.  

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