Vincent Bolloré sells his African empire

The French businessman announces the sale of all his logistics activities on the African continent. The end of a 36-year adventure.

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Logistics was until now the emblematic branch of the Bolloré group on the African continent with a network of sixteen port concessions, warehouses and road and rail platforms. This transfer concerns more than twenty countries on the African continent. Bolloré will sell these infrastructures to the Italian-Swiss shipowner MSC for 5 billion 700 million euros and the operation must be completed at the end of the first quarter of next year.

Based in Geneva, MSC is owned by an Italian family. The Aponte family, whose company claims 560 commercial ships, employs more than 100,000 people with the management of port terminals in Singapore, Rotterdam or Long Beach in California. It is also the world’s fourth largest cruise line.

The Bolloré group is selling its activities because, admittedly, last year, this very profitable African logistics branch saw its revenues jump by nearly 10% to two billion euros, with more than 20,000 employees, but the maintenance of all networks are expensive, investments are more and more costly and competition is ever fiercer with Chinese operators. And then the activity was also at the heart of corruption scandals in Togo and Guinea. In this context, Bolloré paid a fine of twelve million euros to the French courts.

Vincent Bolloré maintains a significant presence on the continent, in particular via the Canal+ television channel which provides its program packages in Mali, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal. There are also many investments planned in communication with its subsidiary Havas. In Africa, Bolloré will soon weigh more in entertainment and publishing than in heavy infrastructure.

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