CMA CGM Group, a global provider of marine, land, air and logistics solutions, has entered into exclusive discussions with STEF Group to buy 100% of La Méridionale, a mixed freight and passenger transport operator located in Marseille.

The completion of the share transfer agreements, as well as the information and consultation of the employee representative bodies, and authorizations from the different competition authorities, are required for this transaction to be completed.

With this acquisition, CMA CGM Group hopes to expand its presence in the Mediterranean while also strengthening the port of Marseille and the French shipping sector.

The Group intends to revitalize La Méridionale and reestablish its development potential. To that purpose, it will promote its growth by establishing business complementarities in France and abroad, notably through the RORO service to Morocco, while retaining the jobs of French sailors on board its ships. It will also invest in the shipping company's fleet and the shift to clean energy.

The new shareholder will be committed to preserving La Méridionale's identity and reinforcing the quality of service for customers on the Corsica and Morocco routes, with the assistance of a dedicated management team based in Marseille, while respecting the passenger service spirit that has made La Méridionale a success.

La Méridionale, founded in 1931, now operates a daily freight and passenger service between Corsica and the mainland, with up to 13 crossings each week. The shipping business has also launched a weekly route between Marseille and Morocco. La Méridionale employs over 600 people, 490 of whom are mariners, and operates a fleet of four specialized mixed vessels: the Pelagos, the Kalliste, the Piana, and the Girolata.

The company is known for its customer service, the quality of its on-board services, and its environmental commitment. La Méridionale was the first firm in France and the Mediterranean to connect its whole fleet of ships operating for the public service of territorial continuity to land power supply during stops at the port of Marseille in January 2017. It will also be the first firm to test a particulate matter filter on its main and auxiliary engines, both in port and at sea, in 2019.

Marseille and the Mediterranean have been crucial to CMA CGM's history since its inception. The Group has launched big steps to boost the region's economic vitality, increase its appeal, and recruit fresh talent. Part of this objective is the acquisition of La Méridionale, a connection between Marseilles, Corsica, and the Mediterranean.

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