1991.00.Note (sans émetteur, destinataire et date).Organisation du pôle maritime (1968-1991)


Worms, 20 years of structural reform

Worms is one of the eldest shipping companies in France. The company was established in 1848 at Rouen, for the purpose of importing and trading coal, but it wasn't until 1854 -at the time of the Crimean War- that they acquired their first ship. From then on a rapid development brought them control of a rather impressing fleet of coal carriers (24 vessels in 1939). In the course of its history Worms has headed several well-known subsidiaries, the two most important being Nouvelle Compagnie havraise péninsulaire (Nochap) and Compagnie nantaise des chargeurs de l'Ouest (CNCO). Since the end of the 60's, Worms has known a series of structural reforms, which gave them the international dimension they hold today.

As a first step in 1968, Worms amalgamates their 2 subsidiaries Nochap and CNCO in order to establish the Compagnie navraise et nantaise péninsulaire (CHNP), the maritime holding of the group which heads two new subsidiaries: Compagnie navale et commerciale havraise péninsulaire (NCHP) and Société nantaise des chargeurs de l'Ouest (SNCO).

The CHNP doesn't hold out long, because only three years later it becomes Compagnie navale Worms (CNW), with Mssrs. Worms & C° as principal shareholders.

The CNW is only a financial structure, they don't own any vessels. To that extend an intermediate is established, the Societe frangaise de transports maritimes (SFTM) which in 1971 owns a fleet of 44 vessels (1.115.000 dwt). The exploitation of this fleet is confided to 4 companies, 2 in the dry cargo trade (NCHP and SNCO) and two in the oiltrade (SFTP and CTMP).

The participation in the world of tanker trading is quite young. In 1969 the group -via another subsidiary, Pechelbronn- acquires a majority in the Compagnie de transports maritimes pétroliers (CTMP) and in 1970 they take control of the Société francaise de transports pétroliers (SFTP).

At the end of the 70's the (much simplified) organigram of the group is as follows:


We note the existence of the old Worms Compagnie maritime et charbonnière in the distribution sector, and also a number of subsidiaries under direct control of CNW:

-Compagnie morbihannaise de navigation which specializes in coastal transports, river ferries etc.

-the Indian Ocean branches: Société malgache de transports maritimes, Pétromad, Auximad, Comorienne de navigation, Bourbonnaise de navigation, Mauricienne de navigation, etc.

-the international branches: Fish, Navifor, Hellespont Shipping, Laodice Shipping, Astroprimo Armadora, OLC, etc.

In 1977, the CTMP is absorbed by SFTP and their 5 tankers are integrated in the latter's fleet.

1988 is another turning point for the group.

That year is marked by a series of events which lead to the present day structure.

These events are:

- the joining of Compagnie morbihannaise de navigation and CNCO into the Compagnie morbihannaise et nantaise de navigation (MN) which specialises in coastal trading, heavy cargo transport, public transport services and management of vessels.

- the sale of NCHP to the group Delmas Vieljeux (after a sale to CGM fell through).

- the acquisition of Compagnie nationale de navigation (CNN) from Elf-Aquitaine.

- the creation of GIE France Ship Management to act as manager for the group's vessels.

Finally the Compagnie navale Worms changes its name, and takes that of Compagnie nationale de navigation (CNN). This new CNN is then a rather different company than the old one, which name is changed to Nouvelle Compagnie de navigation (NCN). But NCN is not granted a long life either, just the time to liquidate the old CNN-fleet: sale (the "Thermidor"), registry under flag of convenience (the "Vendémiaire") or chartering by GIE (the "Floréal").

All of a sudden the organigram is very simple: SFTM disappears, and apart from MN the group specialises in liquid and bulk cargoes.

The next years are spend on the consolidation of the group as it is then. In 1988 CNN established, together with Socatra, the Société européenne de transports maritimes (SETM).

In 1989 an agreement with the Belgian Exmar-group, but most of all with CGM bring to CNN the control over the Unitramp-pool. The company also makes overtures with the Swiss Ermewa group, more specifically via an exchange of shares (Vinalmar). That same year the old Worms CMC disappears when it is absorbed by CNN.

But 1989 above all brings about the creation -together with the Swedish Mercurius- of a subsidiary of convenience (registry Isle of Man): European Navigation C° Ltd (Euronav). In 1991 the Norwegian Investa group takes the place of Mercurius.

When, in 1990, CNN looses the management of the Carline ro/ro vessels, on the other hand they take over the maritime activities of Fina France. The Fina Italie is from now on managed by Euronav.

That same year CNN also recover the 4 coasters of Belgian Shipping NV which are managed by MN.

In June 1990 the group's fleet (all flags) comprises 75 vessels with a total of 2.700.000 dwt (1.700.000 in ownership).

Today CNN means a network of subsidiaries all over today's shipping world.

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