French shipping firm CMA CGM is set to takeover CEVA Logistics after building an almost 90% shareholding in the company after a public tender launched earlier this year.

When the offer was launched in January this year CEVA Logistics, which is headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, called on shareholders to decline CMA CGM’s offer of 30 Swiss Francs per share, which it said undervalued the company by a third.

However the operator revealed this week that the call fell on deaf ears with the public tender seeing CMA CGM acquire 89.47% of its shares, significantly increasing its shareholding from the pre-offer amount of 33%.

As a result, CEVA Logistics today (19 March) recommended that remaining shareholders tender their shares during an additional offer period, which runs from 20 March to 2 April 2019, or face a “squeeze out” by CMA CGM.

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Squeeze out tactics include the termination of the employment of shareholding staff or the refusal to declare a dividend by the majority shareholder.

The statement warned: “CEVA acknowledges that CMA CGM is likely to hold, after settlement of the offer, a percentage of the share capital and voting rights of CEVA that would allow CMA CGM to implement a squeeze-out.”

“CEVA would therefore apply for a delisting of its shares from the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Consequently, CEVA’s board of directors has decided to recommend that remaining shareholders tender their shares during the upcoming additional offer period, which will commence on 20 March 2019 and close on 2 April 2019.”

It added that CEVA board members are also expected to tender their shares and that the board will propose that CMA CGM chief executive Rodolphe Saadé become CEVA Logistics chairman with the current CEVA Logistics chairman Rolf Watter acting as vice-chairman.

“It is further expected that CMA CGM will retain three independent members of the board of directors of CEVA for the time being,” the statement added.

CEVA in the UK

A CEVA Logistics spokesman said it would be business as usual at its UK division and that the takeover would offer more opportunities to the group.

He said: "The change of ownership structure will not change the way we operate. There will be more cross selling between CEVA and CMA CGM with the view of generating more business in all our regions. CEVA UK will continue to operate as usual."