MSC subsidiary Shipping Agencies Services (SAS) is in talks to acquire a 42% stake in French forwarder Clasquin Group, with a view to purchasing the remaining capital on the stock market.
The shareholding is in the hands of chairman Yves Revol and Lyon-based private equity firm Olymp, and SAS has submitted a non-binding offer, in order to allow it to carry out an audit of Clasquin and the companies that make up the group.
“Subject to the positive conclusions of this audit, SAS would grant Mr Revol and Olymp a put option during the first quarter of 2024,” Clasquin said. This would give the owners the right to sell some of the underlying security at a specified price, on or before the option expires.
“The purchase price of the shares would be determined on the basis of an enterprise value of €325m ($350m), after taking into account adjustments to be agreed between the parties,” added Clasquin. Completion of the transaction would also be subject to obtaining clearances from the competent authorities.
Following the acquisition of the 42% holding, SAS would file a public tender offer with France’s financial markets authority, AMF, for the remaining shares.
Clasquin Group would continue to operate with its teams and under the group’s brands, Clasquin, Timar, LCI-Clasquin Cargolution, CVL and Exaciel, in particular. The group organises the cargo flow of customers in France to destinations worldwide, with a particular focus on Asia Pacific, North America and North and sub-Saharan Africa.
Clasquin reported nine month sales of €417m, down 40.4% on the same period last year, a decline largely due to the steady fall in ocean and air freight rates. Between January and September, it handled 196,697 teu (-1.9%) and 51,804 tonnes of air freight (+2.2%).
The acquisition of Clasquin would be the latest step in MSC’s strategy to push into the broader logistics space, mirroring moves by its ocean shipping peers Maersk and CMA CGM to become global integrators.
At the end of last year, SAS completed the €5.7bn purchase of Bolloré Africa Logistics, since re-named Africa Global Logistics, acquiring 250 logistics and maritime agencies, 22 port and rail concessions, 66 dry ports and two river terminals across the continent.