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Strong Q2 for CMA CGM and subsidiary Ceva continues its turnaround

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© Michael Vi |

CMA CGM has published strong second-quarter results on the back of capacity and rate discipline, despite shipping volumes down 13.3% on the same period of last year.

Group ebitda was 26.3% higher than Q2 19, at more than $1.2bn; revenues, down 9%, came in at $7bn “due to a slowdown in volumes”.

But the ebitda margin was 17.2%, against 12.4% a year earlier, with an operating margin of $530, or 7.6%, against $286m or 3.7% last year.

cma cgm

In shipping, ebitda grew by 30% to $1.05bn, with the operating margin up 86% to $497m.

Lower oil prices saw unit cost per teu down 4.6%, which was also boosted, said the line, by “the group’s cost-cutting initiatives and the reduction in fleet of vessels and containers deployed”.

“CMA CGM demonstrated its ability to rapidly adapt its deployed capacity to demand, in line with the discipline seen more generally across all industry operators,” it said.

The group overall saw positive net income of $136m, against a loss of $109m in the same period of last year, while operating performance generated operating cashflow of more than $1.1bn.

“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, our group reported excellent results during the second quarter, thus strengthening our financial structure,” said Rodolphe Saadé, group chairman and chief executive.

“Thanks to our agile business model and synergies between our shipping and logistics business activities, we were able to adapt our service offerings to meet our customers’ fast-changing needs. We have also significantly reduced our costs and benefited from the drop in oil prices. Ceva Logistics’ turnaround plan is under way and in line with our expectations.”

Lars Jensen, of Sea Intelligence, noted: “CMA CGM is the last of the major global carriers to publish Q2 results, and overall they do match what we have already seen in the market – a very strong performance with an outlook of a strong Q3 as well, where they expect to significantly improve operating margins.

“There was an ebitda margin of 19.8% for shipping, which almost matches Maersk’s 20.7% and is slightly behind Hapag-Lloyd’s 23.2%.

“Volumes declined 13.3%, fairly well aligned with key competitors such as Maersk (-15.8%), Hapag-Lloyd (-11.1%), Yang Ming (-15.6%) and Zim (-12.2%). However, this still means a slight loss of market share, as global volumes declined 9.6% in Q2, as per CTS statistics.”

The group secured a €1.05bn guaranteed bank loan, with €300m of that allocated to Ceva. As a result, the group’s liquidity position stood at $2.6bn at the end of June. But, it said, it may look at new refinancing opportunities to strengthen its position.

Ceva saw revenues fall 4.7% to $1.73bn, but ebitda grew 4.1% to  $153m, resulting in a net loss of $1m, up $31m from a year earlier.

cma cgm

Ceva was saved by its air freight business, offsetting weakness in sea freight and contract logistics, which saw many sites close. (For further analysis of Ceva’s business, go to Loadstar Premium).

But CMA said its turnaround plan was on track.

“The Covid-19 crisis has confirmed the relevance of our strategy of offering complementary shipping and logistics services, such as Ceva Logistics’ commercial airfreight and warehousing solutions. The second quarter saw the initial signs of recovery.”

The group expects further recovery to take place in the third quarter for most routes, “driven by faster recovery in the consumption of goods than of services, the growth of e-commerce, and usual seasonality. These factors recently drove freight rates to historically high levels, in particular on transpacific routes where the group is the world leader.”

While it said it remained cautious, “the current strong momentum of the shipping market, driven by both volumes and freight rates, should allow the group to further significantly improve its operating margin, compared with the second quarter”.

Meanwhile, Ceva Logistics today announced it had begun to roll out CargoWise, which will simplify and standardise all 4PL operational processes. The platform will be implemented over a five-year period and replace ‘multiple’ legacy systems.

By the end of 2022, 50% of all Ceva Logistics locations will operate on the CargoWise platform, with the whole project completed and deployed by 2025, it said.

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