Billionaire Rodolphe Saadé came out fighting yesterday, determined to steer politicians in Paris away from pummelling his company with a windfall tax to help households battle soaring inflation.
A growing number of French politicians are calling for a steep 25% windfall tax on some local transport and energy companies, including Saadé’s CMA CGM containerline and TotalEnergies.
Speaking at the French Senate yesterday, Saadé said: “We are putting money on the table and it’s not only charity. We are helping consumers. What I want is that we stop looking at CMA CGM and we start looking at my competitors.”
CMA CGM has responded to French government pressure to help offset inflation by agreeing to cut shipping rates by EUR500 ($510) per container starting next month on consumer goods imported via French ports, as well as on all imports to the country’s overseas territories. Last September, the company also capped its spot freight rates.
In a two-hour hearing Saadé suggested his company was a “patriotic” French champion.
On the markets going forward, the boss of the world’s third largest carrier said: “Some are talking about a recession, I would speak more of a soft landing. This will normalise trade and necessarily lower prices of freight.”
The Marseille-based shipping firm notched up a $7.2bn net income in the first quarter with Forbes placing Saadé in 31st spot in its global billionaires rankings with a net worth of $41.4bn.