MSC Completes Acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics

MSC acquire Bollore
Bolloré operates container and ro/ro terminals in Africa (Bolloré Group)

Published Dec 21, 2022 3:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

MSC Group completed the acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics after the transaction that was first proposed a year ago received approval from all the applicable regulatory authorities. The move comes as the major shipping companies are increasingly focusing on the growth opportunities in Africa and while many of the companies are also working to expand the logistics portion of their businesses.

The transaction valued Bolloré Africa Logistics SAS and its affiliates at $6.1 billion. According to MSC, the acquisition highlights its long-term commitment to invest in African supply chains and infrastructure. MSC intends to continue enhancing the continent's connectivity with the rest of the world and enable trade within Africa amid the implementation of continental free trade (AfCFTA).

"The deal will strengthen MSC's longstanding ties with Africa and will reinforce our commitment to the continent's economic growth, including investment in the ships, shipyards, container terminals, logistic solutions, storage facilities, road and rail networks that will support and enhance trade across the African continent and with the rest of the world,” said Diego Aponte, MSC Group President. 

The French Bolloré Group reportedly began in 2020 exploring the future of the logistics business after settling a long-running bribery scandal involving its operations in Togo. The opportunity to expand in Africa reportedly drew interest from CMA CGM, Maersk, and Cosco, each of which reportedly had also expressed interest in acquiring Bolloré Africa Logistics. MSC made its offer in December 2021 securing an exclusive agreement and completing the terms of acquisition at the end of March 2022.

MSC acquires the group’s African operations, as well as its terminal operations in India, Haiti, and Timor-Leste. Bolloré Group operates in 47 African countries with 16 container terminals, seven ro/ro terminals, two wood terminals, and a river terminal. It has more than 21,000 employees including its stevedoring activity. The company also operates three rail concessions, Sitarail in Burkina Faso, Camrail in Cameroon, and Benirai in Benin, and a network of 85 maritime agencies.

MSC plans to unveil new branding for the operation in 2023 but reiterated that it will operate Bolloré Africa Logistics Group as an autonomous entity. Philippe Labonne, the longstanding President of Bolloré Africa Logistics, will continue to run the operations.

MSC, as well as Maersk and other competitors, each moved in 2022 to expand their operations in Africa announcing new port and terminal operations and expansion of existing terminal locations. Hapag-Lloyd also acquired two shipping lines, NileDutch and the container business of the Deutsche Afrika-Linien, both of which focus on Africa.

The South African government announced plans to move forward with a proposal to launch a national shipping company in response to the increasing consolidation by the major shipping companies and acquisitions in Africa. South Africa highlighted the large amount of export cargo it generates as well as the growing intra-African trade while saying that it has not had a national carrier since Safmarine was acquired by Maersk in 1999.