Neptune Orient Lines Limited (NOL) is a Singapore-based global container shipping company with about 6,000 staff across over 80 countries. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of the CMA CGM Group.
In December 1968, Neptune Orient Lines was started as Singapore's national shipping line. Wholly owned by the Singapore Government, it was formed in an effort to develop and support Singapore's economy.
In the 1970s containerisation was introduced. In the mid-1970s, NOL's managing director was Goh Chok Tong, who went on to become Singapore's second Prime Minister.
In 1975, NOL then entered the Asia-Europe trade as part of the ACE consortium with partners OOCL, K Line, COSCO and Franco-Belgian Services, known as the "third force" in the container-shipping world. Meanwhile, it entered the key Trans-Pacific Trade with a standalone service.
In 1997, NOL made a $825 million acquisition of APL. APL's heritage dates back to 1848.
Following the merger, APL name was adopted as the public brand name. The NOL name was retained for the holding company, which was listed on the Singapore stock exchange and was well known to its investors. The company focused on managing global supply chains in 2001 when APL Logistics was established as a separate business unit.
In 1998, the Asian economic crisis hit hard, NOL saw losses mount to US$460 million, while its debt was more the US$4 billion. The company sold off assets to clear the debt and by 1999 was profitable again.
In 2003, NOL completed the divestment of its tankering businesses AET and NAS, to concentrate on the company's core container shipping and logistics services.
On 17 February 2015, APL Logistics was sold to Kintetsu World Express, Inc. for US$1.2 billion.
On 9 June 2016, it was announced that Temasek will tender its NOL shares to CMA. CMA CGM launched an all-cash voluntary conditional general offer for outstanding NOL shares at SGD$1.30 apiece. The deal is worth SGD$3.38 billion and eventually will be delisted from the Singapore Exchange.
The company announced in May 2016 reported net losses of US$105.1 million (S$142 million) for the first quarter ended 31 March, higher than the US$10.8 million a year earlier. Former CEO Mr Ng acknowledged that the company had been "a bit slow and reluctant to change".
On 28 June 2016, CMA CGM said it will proceed to delist NOL, after it crossed the 90 per cent ownership threshold in the company and NOL was subsequently delisted on 5 September 2016.