SNCF launches bid for Geodis freight transporter

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France's SNCF state railway company on Sunday launched a full-scale takeover bid for the Geodis transport and logistics firm.

   PARIS, April 7, 2008 - France's SNCF state railway company on Sunday launched a full-scale takeover bid for the Geodis transport and logistics firm, aiming to create a freight transport firm with international clout.
   SNCF chairman Guillaume Pepy said the bid, which values Geodis at 1.1
billion euros (1.7 billion dollars) would be part of a "little revolution" at
the state rail firm which faces mounting competition from airlines.
   SNCF already owns 42 percent of Geodis and is offering 135 euros a share
which Pepy called an "attractive" price. The deal could cost the state firm
600 million euros for the stock it does not already have.
   The deal would make Geodis the fourth largest freight road transporter in
Europe and Pepy said he wanted to "rally its strengths, without changing its
structure". He has asked Geodis chairman Pierre Blayau to stay on in the post.
   "For us this is a little revolution," Pepy told reporters. "This will make
transport and logistics, the main job of the SNCF."
   Pepy announced in mid-March that he wanted to make SNCF one of the world's
top five logistics operators by 2012, mainly through acquisitions abroad.
   Blayau told the press conference that the Geodis board would study the
offer and give a response within three weeks.
   Trading in Geodis shares was suspended on the Paris stock market on
Thursday after it rose almost 27 percent in one day to 101.62 euros.
   Apart from SNCF, the other main shareholders are insurer AGF Vie with 9.2
percent and investment firm Salvepar (5.9 percent) with about 30 percent
traded on the market.

AFP 

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