Bollore’s Bid for Ivory Coast Terminal May Be Probed

A winning bid to construct a second container terminal at the Port of Abidjan in Ivory Coast by Bollore Africa Logistics CI, Bouygues SA and A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S’s APM Terminals may face scrutiny from a West African competition body.

The competition department of the West African Economic and Monetary Union has accepted a complaint against the bid and will decide whether it will probe it, Amadou Dieng, director of competition at the body said in an interview from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, today.

Bollore, which operates the first container terminal at the port, offered 122 million euros ($161 million) for the concession and 14 million euros in annual operating fees and won the bid in March. The plan is to build the terminal in a partnership with the government at a cost of as much as 500 million euros.

“The complaint has been admissible. No decision has been taken on the substance of the case,” Dieng said. “We are analyzing the documents.”

Bollore, which is based in the French city of Puteaux, beat bids from groups led by Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Co. and Marseille-based CMA CGM SSA. The complaint was submitted to the body by Movis Cote D’Ivoire and NCT Neotrans, part of the CMA CGM group.

Failed Appeal

An appeal by the CMA CGM group calling for an annulment of the bid was dismissed on May 8 by the Ivory Coast’s Public Procurement Regulating Authority.

Bollore’s winning bid may create a “supermonopoly,” Jean-Louis Billon, Ivory Coast’s commerce minister, said in an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, a Paris-based weekly publication.

Marc Messana, director general of Delmas, CMA CGM’s Africa unit, didn’t answer a call made to his mobile phone. A call to the phone of Lionel Labarre, the West Africa director for Bollore Africa Logistics, wasn’t answered.

Abidjan is Ivory Coast’s main harbor and also serves landlocked neighbors Burkina Faso and Mali. The country is the world’s biggest cocoa producer.

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