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© Hieronymusukkel & CEVA

Ceva Logistics’ board of directors has recommended shareholders not to accept this morning’s offer from CMA CGM of Sfr30 per share.

The board told shareholders its decision was “based on a comprehensive review of the revised business plan for the period up to 2023, developed with external advisors and based on an independent financial opinion.

“The valuation of the revised business plan indicates a midpoint value of Sfr40 per share, well above the share price of Sfr30 offered by CMA CGM,” it added.

The board said while it believed the Sfr30 per share offer was “reasonable from a financial perspective and provides a fair exit opportunity for shareholders who wish to receive cash for their Ceva shares”, a number of factors had come to light since the French carrier first invested in Ceva last year, leading the board to believe shareholders should expect a higher price.

These factors include the growth momentum in Ceva’s business lines, the new strategic partnership between Ceva and CMA CGM and the impending acquisition of the carrier’s’s logistics subsidiary, CMA CGM Log, by Ceva.

Ceva chairman Rolf Watter explained: “The board of directors, with the support of independent external advisors, challenged the new business plan, validated it and fully trusts Ceva’s management team to successfully execute the plan.

“For those reasons, management and the board will not tender the shares, and do not recommend shareholders to tender either.”

Chief executive Xavier Urbain added: “I am proud to be putting the whole organisation on track to accelerate our transformation and turnaround action plan in the next three years and beyond.

“This can be achieved by a combination of our commercial and sales focus, cross-selling with CMA CGM customers, our own productivity actions, the integration of CMA CGM Logistics within Ceva and sharing resources with CMA CGM in the field of non-strategic procurement and administrative functions.”

According to The Loadstar’s financial analyst, Alessandro Pasetti, CMA CGM may well already hold over 50% of Ceva’s issued share capital, while Ceva said today that if this were the case, it would a trigger a “change of control under the agreements governing a significant portion of Ceva’s debt. As a consequence, Ceva is actively working on new financing solutions, most of which are well advanced”.

CMA CGM’s formal tender is expected to close in mid-April.

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