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Standard & Poor's lowers CMA CGM for NOL acquisition

French carrier CMA CGM, the world's third largest container carrier, will see its profits squeezed over the next two years, just as liquidity will be tight in the coming months, projects Standard & Poor's, which has lowered the carrier's credit rating. The acquisition of NOL is cited as one reason.

Standard & Poor's has lowered its long-term forecast for France's CMA CGM, the world's third largest container carrier, and the rating bureau has downgraded its rating of the carrier from "B" to "B+" to negative. The reason is the low rates in the container industry, which will put pressure on the carrier's profits in 2016 and 2017, while the liquidity in the coming quarters may be strained.

CMA CGM's acquisition of Singapore-based container carrier Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) is expected to be finalized by mid-2016, if the competitions authorities approve the purchase. The USD 2.4 billion acquisition is partly financed by loans, and factoring in CMA CGM's further fleet expansion, this acquisition is now hurting the carrier's credit rating, notes Standard & Poor's.

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