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Bollore Plans to Expand Container Port Work Across Africa

March 13 (Bloomberg) -- Bollore SA, an investment company controlled by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, is competing to expand its African unit to operate five more port terminals and is eyeing similar growth in Asia and Latin America.

Bollore Africa Logistics is vying to operate container terminals in Kenya, Somaliland and Mozambique, with the possibility of upgrading existing infrastructure and building new facilities, Philippe Labonne, the unit’s managing director, said in an interview in Johannesburg.

The company, which currently operates 14 port terminals on the continent, plans to expand in South Africa and is targeting a market share in the logistics industry in the country of as much as 5 percent. It seeks to become the “preferred partner” for the biggest companies on the continent, said Labonne.

Revenue for Bollore’s African unit rose 25 percent to 2.5 billion euros ($3.26 billion) in 2012, Labonne said. For fiscal 2011, African sales accounted for 23 percent of Bollore SA’s revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company is part of a consortium bidding to build a second terminal at Ivory Coast’s Abidjan port in a deal worth 460 million euros, Labonne said.

Bollore employs 25,000 people in 45 African countries through 250 subsidiaries. Its operations include two railway lines, freight forwarding and warehousing facilities.

“We invest 250 million euros to 300 million euros in Africa” each year, Labonne said. “About 80 percent of the amount is spent on infrastructure.”

South Africa

Expected privatization of South Africa’s ports would generate further growth. “We will be ready to invest,” Labonne said.

“It would be a very important strategic move for our group,” said Tony Stenning, managing director for Bollore Africa Logistics east and southern African region.

Bollore Africa will inaugurate a $15 million oil-and-gas floating terminal tomorrow in Pemba, Mozambique. Discussions are at an early stage for a concrete terminal, said Labonne.

Bollore SA shares were unchanged at 299 euros at 12:29 p.m. in Paris. The stock has gained 16 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 8 billion euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Thiel in London at sthiel1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net

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