January 25, 2013 / 1:10 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-French shipper CMA CGM sells stake in terminal business

(Adds detail, background)

PARIS, Jan 25 (Reuters) - CMA CGM, the world’s third-largest container shipper, is to sell a 49 percent stake in its Terminal Link division for 400 million euros ($535 million) to China Merchants Holdings (International).

CMA CGM had put the stake up for sale as part of measures to boost its finances as the group emerges from a turbulent three years in a volatile global freight market.

The French family-owned firm, based in the Mediterranean port city of Marseilles, said on Friday the agreement with CMHI was the first step in a wider cooperation with the Chinese company in the global container shipping business.

The French company had said in December it expected to conclude the sale of the Terminal Link stake to a Chinese investor in the first quarter of 2013.

Terminal Link operates a network of 15 port terminals and ranks as the world’s 12th-largest operator in terms of volumes handled, CMA CGM said in a statement.

CMHI is the largest public port operator in China and controls 32 percent of the container traffic in the country, the statement said.

The companies expect to complete the transaction during the first quarter. ($1 = 0.7477 euros) (Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by James Regan and Jane Merriman)

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