French container transportation and shipping company CMA CGM has announced a pre-conditional voluntary general cash offer for Singapore-based container group Neptune Orient Lines (NOL).

Subject to approvals from antitrust authorities, CMA CGM will launch an offer at a price of SGD1.30 per share, which represents a 49% premium to NOL’s unaffected share price and a 33% premium to NOL’s three-month volume-weighted average share price.

CMA CGM vice-chairman Rodolphe Saadé said: “Leveraging the complementary strengths of both companies, CMA CGM will further reinforce its position as a leader in global shipping with combined revenue of $22bn and 563 vessels.

“The combination of NOL and CMA CGM will create a leading shipping company that delivers reliable and efficient service to its customers.”

The company has stated that NOL’s majority shareholders, Temasek and its affiliates, accepted the offer and have undertaken the procedures for the tender process.

Temasek Portfolio Management head Tan Chong Lee said: “We are supportive of this transaction as it presents NOL with an opportunity to join a leading player with an extensive global presence and solid operational track record.

“The combination of NOL and CMA CGM will create a leading shipping company that delivers reliable and efficient service to its customers.”

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The transaction has been unanimously approved by NOL Board.

Apart from CMA CGM, Denmark’s AP Moeller-Maersk was also engaged in separate talks to acquire NOL until November this year.

Singapore state-investment company Tamasek that holds 65% stake in NOL and had put the container-shipping company up for sale in July this year, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Reports also emerged over the potential merger of the container-shipping company with Hapag-Lloyd of Germany and Orient Overseas (International) of Hong Kong.

In May this year, the company sold its profitable logistics business, APL Logistics, for $1.2bn to Japan’s Kintetsu World Express.

NOL has been looking for a buyer for months due to the industry downturn.