The Geneva, Switzerland-based maritime giant, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), has taken over Bolloré Logistics Africa (100%). This was confirmed by both companies in press announcements published 31MAR22. The deal encompasses all of Bolloré Group's transport and logistics activities in Africa, on the basis of an enterprise value, net of minority interests, of 5.7 billion euros. For MSC, the acquisition is a major coup, significantly strengthening its presence between Tangiers and Cape Town, Dar Es Salaam and Lomé, including the many landlocked countries.
Bolloré Logistics’ African activities have a long and valued tradition. Over the years, the French company has developed into the largest international transport and logistics operator on the continent. Its current network of stations and representations spans 47 countries. The agent is particularly strong in the Francophone belt in West and Central Africa, including the Congo Basin.
Change of ownership
Following the agreement, all assets will be shifted to MSC in the coming months. This includes the transfer of 16 container terminal concessions in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Togo, Guinea-Conakry, and three railway lines, to name but a few. Further to this, seven roll-on/roll-off terminals will be taken over by MSC, as well as two wood terminals, a river terminal, and a conventional stevedoring activity. The same accounts for all administrative and customs services offered by Bolloré to its customers for both import and export shipments, including the onforwarding of goods to their final destinations.
Jobs will be cut
Market observers assume that double structures will be eliminated, particularly in port cities such as Dar Es Salaam, Cape Town, Durban, Lomé, Libreville, and many others. There, existing Bolloré and MSC offices will soon be merged, which will reduce costs and generate synergies. However, it will also make jobs redundant, especially in middle and upper management levels where the nervousness very likely increased after the merger announcement.
Will MSC competitors react?
However, final structural and personnel decisions will probably not be made for another year or so, since the deal remains subject to regulatory and competition approvals. These are anticipated to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
It can be expected that the consequences of the transaction are under very close observation by other shipping companies heavily involved in African business, such as CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, or Maersk. This, because MSC's advance is likely to intensify the competition of marine service providers and global logistics firms on the fast-growing African market.
Bolloré focusing on other businesses in Africa
In view of its pole position, which MSC has secured through the takeover of Bolloré Logistics Africa, the Geneva management remains very relaxed considering its own strength. The step “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,” the shipping line states.
Following the sale of its African Logistics division, Bolloré emphasizes that the Group intends to shift its activities on the continent to telecommunications, publishing, entertainment, and enlarging the reach and program of its TV channel, Canal+.
“We will remain strongly involved in Africa,” reads a promise displayed on the company’s website.
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