PARIS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Shipping group CMA CGM has agreed to buy a 30% stake in French airline company Groupe Dubreuil Aero as it continues to extend its presence in non-maritime transport.
CMA CGM CMACG.UL, the world's fourth-largest container shipping firm, said in a statement on Wednesday that it would acquire the stake through a capital increase and acquisition of ordinary shares and would obtain two seats on the board of Dubreuil Aero.
CMA CGM's investment would total 70 million euros and it hoped the deal would be finalised before the end of the year, a spokesman added.
Dubreuil Aero owns the Air Caraibes and French Bee lines, which notably operate between mainland France and overseas French territories and generated sales of 700 million euros in 2019.
CMA CGM, which expanded its presence in non-maritime transport through its acquisition last year of CEVA Logistics, said it saw potential to develop Dubreuil's freight activity.
"The acquisition of this stake will enable the CMA CGM Group to strengthen its position in air freight," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rodolphe Saade said in the statement.
Amidst an aviation crisis triggered by a coronavirus pandemic, Dubreuil Aero's routes serving French overseas territories had been less affected than other zones and its airlines had increased their market share in July and August, CMA CGM said.
Jean-Paul Dubreuil, chairman of Dubreuil Aero, said in the statement that the planned deal with CMA CGM would bolster his group's equity and help it prepare for a rebound in air transport.
(Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Writing by Matthieu Protard. Editing by Jane Merriman and Lisa Shumaker)
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