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CMA CGM reports encouraging first-quarter results

CMA CGM Group has unveiled significantly improved results during the first quarter of 2020 compared to its Q1 2019 results, which it attributes to its operational flexibility and cost controls.

The Marseille-based liner shipping company achieved a notable increase of 25% in its adjusted EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) reaching US$973 million, equating to a margin of 13.5%, up 3% relative to the first quarter of 2019.

The net result was also positive at US$48 million, which is translated to an increase of US$91 million compared to the first quarter of 2019 and US$170 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. The result includes a US$185 million gain from the disposal of terminals.

However, the company income figures were boosted by the sale of terminals, and the underlying figures revealed a slight decline in its revenues which amounted to US$7.19 billion. "This contained decrease is achieved thanks to the diverse range of industries in which the group’s customers operate, a balanced global presence, and the complementary nature of the group's shipping and logistics activities," stated the company.

In the same way, shipping revenue and container volumes declined by 3.3% and 4.6% compared to 2019 Q1, respectively, reaching US$5.52 billion and 4.93 million TEU. The volumes drop was a result of "the impact of COVID-19 and more specifically the shutdown of factories, particularly in Asia in February and March," according to the company.

Rodolphe Saadé, chairman and CEO of the French group, commented, "despite the uncertainty around the global economy, we anticipate an improvement during the second quarter, thanks to our operational flexibility and our discipline in terms of cost control."

The carrier pointed out that the syndicated loan of €1.05 billion (US$1.18 billion) by a consortium of three banks (HSBC, BNP Paribas, and Société Générale) has strengthened its cash position.

Group

Nevertheless, revenue per carried container improved slightly, due mainly to the application of fuel surcharges, CMA CGM added, while adjusted EBITDA (excluding gain from sales) for shipping activities increased sharply by 31.6% over the first quarter of 2019 and reached US$836 million with adjusted EBITDA margin increased by 4% to 15.1%.

The 4th largest shipping company in the world said that its subsidiary, CEVA Logistics, increased its revenue by 0.6% to US$ 1.71 billion. On the contrary, CEVA showed a decreased adjusted EBITDA by 4.9% to US$137 million, representing adjusted EBITDA margin of 8%.

Shipping

CMA CGM highlighted again its commitment in favour of a more balanced and environmentally-friendly global trade. At a United Nations conference held on 2 June 2020, Rodolphe Saadé announced the group's target to be carbon neutral by 2050.

Alternative fuels are expected to account for 10% of the group's fuel consumption by 2023, according to a statement. 2020 will mark a major step with the delivery of the first 23,000TEU LNG-powered container ships, allowing to reduce CO2 emissions by about 20% and eliminate nearly all sulphur and fine particle emissions.

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