CMA CGM’s Saade pushes media deals with China Ship’s crew

By Samy Adghirni and Tara Patel (Bloomberg) —

Rodolphe Saade, chief executive officer of CMA CGM SA, said the world’s third-largest container line has secured new supply deals in China and an investment in a French online media company.

The shipping company, controlled by his family, has reached agreements to supply methanol and build new ships in China, said Saade, who is part of a delegation of French CEOs accompanying President Emmanuel Macron on a visit to the Asian country.

The executive said he is ordering new ocean-going ships despite an industry slowdown after a boom during the pandemic, when some freight rates rose to record levels.

“I see the global economy growing at about 2% to 3% every year, so that’s going to absorb quite a bit of capacity,” he said in an interview. “There are some that will do better than others, but overall I would say there is growth and that is why we are ordering new ships.”

Environmental regulations are forcing a switch to new energies for power boats and require their replacement.

“We will most likely scrap some of our old container ships and replace them with new tonnage,” he said.

Taking over from his late father, who founded the Marseille-based company, the CEO is spending some of the windfall profits accrued during the Covid-19 health crisis, including on media assets.

CMA CGM plans to take a 16 percent stake in French online media company Brut after it increased its stake in broadcaster M6, Saade said.

The shipper’s exposure to the group controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani is “very small” through an investment in a port terminal that is “working well,” Saade added.

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

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