Bollore shares hit by Ebola fears

8th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

Shares in the French conglomerate Bollore, with big interests in West African ports and logistics, fell sharply on Wednesday as concern over the impact of the Ebola virus mounted.

The company's shares plunged nearly 10 percent at one point to 371.75 euros, but later recovered to stand down 4.8 percent at 393.30 euros in afternoon trading.

The fall was due to "concerns over the Ebola virus" said trader Mikael Jacoby at Oddo Securities, noting that turnover in the share was unusually high.

The company's Africa unit is the leading company in public-private management of infrastructure, with 30 concessions including the running of 15 ports.

Bollore's shares have lost about 15 percent of their value since the beginning of September as the death toll from the Ebola virus mounts.

The highly deadly virus which causes internal bleeding has killed 3,439 people in west Africa since the start of the year,according to the latest toll from the World Health Organisation.

In London, shares in British company London Mining plunged 77.42 percent to less than one pence on Wednesday. The company, which is focused on mining activities in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone, had warned that its shares could lose all of their value.

The group, which needs new funds to cope with debt, said that the spread of the disease was discouraging potential investors.

Shares in European airlines and travel operators have taken a beating this week as Spain confirmed the first case of transmission of the disease outside of Africa after a nurse who had treated two elderly Spanish missionaries who died from the virus following their return from west Africa tested positive.

Meanwhile, the World Bank warned on Wednesday that the epidemic could deal a $32 billion-plus blow to the West African economy over the next year if officials cannot get it under control.

If efforts to halt its spread out of a three-country core -- Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea -- are not successful by December, the entire region faces a real threat of economic catastrophe, the Bank said in a new report.

But Jacoby said "the short-term risk of an economic slowdown shouldn't make one forget the medium-term potential of the African continent, across which Bollore has created a dense and wide web."

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© 2014 AFP

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