Published on 24 January 2017

How major African port operator Necotrans was brought to its knees

The sudden loss of the Port of Conakry operating concession was the first warning shot for Necotrans

Family-style management, inopportune development projects, stronger competition in the oil logistics sector and a sharp fall in raw material prices. All these factors contributed to the grave financial difficulty in which maritime logistics group Necotrans finds itself, as this West Africa Newsletter special report recalls. The first warning shot came in 2010 with the sudden loss of the Port Autonome de Conakry (PAC) operating concession which the group had obtained several years earlier. The group was forced to battle for several years before the courts in France and Africa in its efforts to recover the contract. Its difficulties were exacerbated by its acquisition in late 2015 in a completely lacklustre mining market of Mining Co of Katanga (MCK) in Congo-K even though the company did go on to win a certain number of contracts, including one in Congo-B. Following the death of company founder Richard Talbot in 2013, Sophie Talbot became its principal shareholder. Today, however, she finds herself obliged to sell part or even the whole of her shareholding to enable the group to survive. Merchant bank Rothschild has been given the job of organizing the sale.

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