December 21, 2015

The proposed combination of Willkie client CMA GGM and Neptune Orient Lines will create a $22 billion entity with more than 560 vessels.

On December 7, CMA CGM, the third-largest shipping group in the world, announced a pre-conditional voluntary general cash offer for Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), Southeast Asia’s largest container shipping company. NOL is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange and operates under the brand American President Lines (APL).

The pre-conditional voluntary general cash offer benefits from the support of Singapore sovereign fund Temasek, which committed to tender its shares to CMA CGM. The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals.

Neptune Orient Lines counts 7,400 employees in more than 80 countries worldwide. This transaction consolidates CMA CGM’s position in the shipping industry thanks to the significant operational and geographical synergies between the two groups, which together create a $22 billion entity with more than 560 vessels.

Willkie advised CMA CGM with a team led by partner Daniel Hurstel, with national partner Gabriel Flandin, together with associates Laure Pistre, Grégoire Dumazy, Marion Bellemin on corporate aspects; and national partner Brice Pommiès and associate Georges Balit on financing aspects. Antitrust matters were handled by partner Jacques-Philippe Gunther and national partner Adrien Giraud, together with associates Maxime de l’Estang, David Kupka and Sylvain Petit. Willkie’s U.S. and London offices also took part in the transaction, with partner Jon Lyman in Houston; special counsel Russell Smith and associates Barbara Block and Annise Maguire in Washington, DC; partner Eugene Chang and associates Zelda Ferguson, Rachel Dooley and Christina Castedo in New York; and UK partner James Crooks and associates Jennifer Tait, Mamoun Shafi and Henri Weil in London.

Wong Partnership, with partners Andrew Ang and Anna Tan, was involved in close cooperation with Willkie on the Singapore aspects.