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The Bolloré Logistics brand is likely to disappear – but jobs are safe, according to the company, which is close to finalising its €4.65bn ($5bn) acquisition by CMA CGM Group.

Completion of the deal now rests on obtaining antitrust and foreign investment clearances in the relevant jurisdictions.

The combined operations of CMA CGM’s logistics activities — centred on Ceva – and Bolloré Logistics would produce revenue of approximately $24bn, based on 2022 results, and generate in excess of two million teu of sea freight and 800,000 tonnes of airfreight, while warehouse space would increase by more than 900,000 sq metres, in addition to the 10.3 million sq m already managed by Ceva.

“A game-changing acquisition for CMA CGM’s diversification into logistics”, is how the France-based ocean shipping group described the takeover, which would propel it into the ranks of the world’s top-five global logistics firms.

However, any deal of this size and scope raises questions about duplication and overlap of activities. For example, to what degree are Bolloré Logistics and Ceva Logistics direct competitors in air and ocean freight forwarding and contract logistics? Conversely, how complementary are they in business lines and geographical regions?

Other relevant questions are whether the Bolloré brand name will disappear and if the acquisition is likely to lead to job cuts.

A CGM CGM spokesperson told The Loadstar that as the deal still required regulatory approval the group could not respond to questions at present.

However, a spokesperson for Bolloré Logistics said: “Our two companies operate in the same sector, but our skills and our network complement each other. The configuration of the freight industry requires us to be a global player, with a worldwide presence and local know-how. Bolloré Logistics wants to continue to support its customers in their international development by delivering tailor-made, competitive, agile and innovative solutions.”

As to the Bolloré Logistics brand, the spokesperson said: “Nothing has been decided yet, but it would be quite logical for the brand not to survive in the medium term,” and added that no job losses were expected at Bolloré as a result of the acquisition.

Thomas Cullen, senior analyst at research consultancy Transport Intelligence, told The Loadstar:“There must be some competition and overlap in freight forwarding [between the two companies]. However, Bolloré is somewhat more exposed to pharmaceuticals and luxury goods, while for Ceva it is automotive and electronics.

“In terms of geographies, historically they have had a different emphasis, with Ceva strong in airfreight across the Pacific while Bolloré is obviously highly exposed to France. Bolloré has been expanding its presence in Asia. Several years ago it indicated an interest in growing in North America. As part of CMA-CGM perhaps this will not be quite as necessary.”

He added: “In any acquisition, the speed and depth of integration is always vital. Of course, the jewel in the Bolloré crown was always its Africa business” – sold to MSC at the end of last year.

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