Un porte-conteneurs de la compagnie CMA CGM au Havre, en Seine-Maritime, le 24 mai 2022 (AFP/Archives - Jean-Francois MONIER)

Two French energy and transport giants announce cuts to boost purchasing power

Rebates to avoid taxation: TotalEnergies and shipping giant CMA CGM announced new measures Friday to boost purchasing power, as the government asked companies to take part in anti-inflation efforts.

French gas and oil giant Total Energy announced Friday in a press release that Total Energy will apply a pump discount of 20 cents per liter between September and November at all of its service stations, and then 10 cents per liter for the rest of the year.

This discount comes in addition to the assistance of 18 cents provided by the government to deal with the rise in fuel prices. Government aid should increase to 12 cents in October and then to 6 cents in November, before disappearing the following month.

CMA CGM will reduce freight rates by 750 euros per 40-foot container to mainland France and overseas territories, up to 25% of their prices, instead of the initially planned 500 euros. The group said in a press release that the measure extends to all of its customers in mainland France from August 1 and for a period of one year, when it was due to be reserved for major retailers.

A container ship from CMA CGM in Le Havre, in the offshore Seine, on May 24, 2022 (AFP / Archives – Jean-Francois MONIER)

TotalEnergies and CMA CGM are in the crosshairs of MPs, on the left but also in the majority, who want to tax companies that have made big profits thanks to inflation.

Total Energy in early February reported a net profit of $16 billion in 2021, the highest in at least 15 years, linked to the sharp rise in oil prices.

CMA CGM in early June posted a net profit of $7.2 billion for the first quarter alone. Coming out of the red in 2020, the world’s third largest shipowner has been driven by rising shipping temperature and the disorganization of global supply chains.

– Consultation with the Ministry –

CMA CGM CEO Rodolphe Saade defended himself on Wednesday during a Senate hearing, asserting that he was “willing to help”, but did not want to be “the only one pushing” in the international standoff. Competition.

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire responded Friday morning by welcoming TotalEnergies’ decision; He declared on RMC/BFMTV that it was a “fair decision, a strong decision, and a good decision for consumers”.

He added that “What Total makes is very large compared to the profits” the group made in refining in France this year, while Total Energy is accused by many elected representatives of the opposition and the majority of making “huge profits” through the rise in gas and oil. the prices.

Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire at the National Assembly, July 19, 2022 (AFP/Archive - Christophe Archambault)
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire at the National Assembly, July 19, 2022 (AFP/Archive – Christophe Archambault)

TotalEnergies had already in February offered a discount of 10 cents per liter at service stations in rural areas, a contribution of about 50 million euros, or 30% of its margin on gas, electricity and fuel activities in France. It then expanded the offer to include all of its stops in April.

Bruno Le Maire had called in June to continue or even increase the discount, which the carrier had increased to 12 cents, but by limiting it to motorway service stations only.

“Our priority goes to consumers because we prefer making an immediate and direct contribution to our customers, rather than imposing an indirect tax that would penalize our refineries,” commented Patrick Boyani, CEO of TotalEnergies.

These measures were determined “in consultation with the Ministry of Economy”, and “were the subject of discussions with the group’s clients and some consortia including CPME (Confederation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises)”, identified Friday by CMA-CGM. The company stressed that “it is necessary that these cuts be transferred to the prices of products intended for final consumers, and that the ministry’s departments ensure that.”

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