France’s CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest container shipping firm, which had earlier this month entered into a deal to buy Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines, has now begun building its stake in the Temasek-controlled company, at a lower price per share, than its takeover price of S$1.30 a share.
In a regulatory disclosure on the Singapore Exchange on Monday, the French container shipping giant said it had offered to buy 367,000 shares of NOL at S$1.24 per share on Friday (December 18). This open market transaction will see CMA CGM own 0.01 per cent of shares issued by the Singapore company.
Prior to this, CMA CGM, which is in the process of taking over the Temasek-controlled Singapore firm in a $2.4 billion deal, in an earlier (December 11) disclosure said it bought about 3.68 million NOL shares at S$1.22 per share, equivalent 0.14 per cent of the latter’s issued share capital.
Post these transactions, which were at a 6 per cent discount to its takeover price, the French company will have about 0.77 per cent stake in NOL, its disclosures add.
But the price being offered by CMA CGM is line with NOL’s trading price. The Singapore company’s shares closed flat at S$1.24 and remained at the same levels on Monday morning. Its takeover price of S$1.30 a share in cash, announced on December 7, was 6 per cent above NOL‘s last closing price on the stock exchange.
Temasek, which owns nearly 67 percent of NOL, has accepted the offer and will tender all of its shares, and this is set to trigger a mandatory open offer for the rest of the company’s shares. CMA CGM has said it will take the Singapore-listed company private if it can mop up over 90 per cent of the shares through its open offer.
Analysts say the company is trading at a discount to CMA CGA’s takeover price, as the open offer will only come mid-next year, after the deal gets all the requisite regulatory approvals.