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Former exec suggests NOL should sell terminals to PSA

Former deputy CEO of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) Lim How Teck has thrown a spanner into the works today, suggesting that NOL should carve out its terminals business before selling the line to France’s CMA CGM.

Speaking to Singapore’s The Business Times, Lim said: “Temasek has many choices. While NOL’s book value is S$1.38, this valuation fails to take into consideration the mark-to-market value of the terminals.

“I think many parties will be interested in the terminals. The terminals are a prize catch and of strategic interest for PSA. If CMA is interested but is not going to offer mark-to-market price for the terminals, NOL can sell them to PSA.”

NOL and CMA CGM are currently locked in negotiations, having entered into an exclusivity arrangement last month for the potential acquisition. With a deadline of December 7, CMA CGM is reported by Bloomberg to be in talks to raise finance with banks including BNP Paribas SA, HSBC Holdings Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

NOL operates terminals at Los Angeles and Dutch Harbor on the US West Coast, Kobe and Yokohama, Japan and Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It also has interests in Laem Chabang, Thailand, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Qingdao, China.

“There will always be buyers for standalone liner businesses since there are cost synergies, geographical expansion advantages and deeper dominant sectors on acquisition – with or without terminals,” Lim added, responding on whether the liner business could be offloaded should the terminals business be sold separately.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.


  1. One must wonder who this guy is shilling for re stripping terminals out of the deal. Think I have a guess.

  2. The minority share (20%) in Qingdao could be an attractive asset. PSA already has terminals in HCMC (due to close in 2019) and Laem Chabang, both markets suffer over capacity and very low revenues. The Japanese terminals are “cost-center” set-ups, stevedored by Japanese logistics companies. Kaohsiung continues to drop down the ranks, and many Lines already sold out years ago. PSA would probably not like to enter the US, for fear of labour issues spreading to its terminals in Central and Latin America. Pier 300 is more of a liability than an asset, as it is too small and insufficiently automated to handle the larger ships of the future with any degree of performance or efficiency. If CMA is to be the acquirer, the terminals will likely be placed under TerminalLink, with those “cost center” structured ones phased out.

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