Automotive logistics company Gefco to buy Russian shareholder

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  • Gefco wants to buy 75% of the capital of Russian railways
  • Says aims to provide update on shareholding structure in coming days
  • French media report that shipping group CMA CGM is considering buying
  • In 2012, the French group PSA sold its majority stake in Gefco to RZD

PARIS, April 1 (Reuters) – Auto transport company Gefco, co-owned by Franco-Italian carmaker Stellantis (STLA.MI), said on Friday it would buy back the 75% of its shares held by French railways. Russian Railways (RZD) after being placed under Western sanctions.

The takeover was expected before April 11, the company said in a statement, adding that it hoped “to provide more information on the evolution of our shareholding in the coming days”.

The business daily Les Echos and other French media have reported that French shipping group CMA CGM is set to acquire Gefco. Read more

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CMA CGM declined to comment.

Gefco, which did not explain how it would fund the takeover, said running its business had become “extremely difficult due to our shareholding structure”.

Western industrial players are seeking to sever their ties with Russian partners, increasingly isolated after the invasion of neighboring Ukraine at the end of February.

The British government, in its latest round of sanctions on March 24, cited state-owned RZD, along with some defense companies and the Wagner Group, known to employ mercenaries, for aiding the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Read more

Gefco said UK sanctions, as well as EU and US restrictions, should not affect Gefco as an independent company registered in France.

Founded in 1949, Gefco employs 11,500 people in 47 countries and sells transport services to Stellantis, Ford, Renault, Skoda and Toyota, as well as Nestlé and Electrolux.

Until 2012, it was wholly owned by the French group PSA, which last year merged with Fiat Chrysler to form Stellantis.

Under pressure to cut costs, in 2012 PSA sold a 75% stake in Gefco to RZD for 800 million euros ($884.00 million).

Sources told Reuters last year that RZD and Stellantis had put Gefco up for sale in a deal expected to be worth more than 2 billion euros. No owners have commented. Read more

Les Echos, citing sources, said the potential deal with CMA CGM would value Gefco between 450 and 500 million euros.

CMA CGM, one of the world’s largest container shipping companies, has invested heavily in non-shipping logistics in recent years through a series of acquisitions. Read more

($1 = 0.9050 euros)

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Reporting by Tassilo Hummel, Dominique Vidalon and Gus Trompiz; edited by Barbara Lewis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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