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"Superprofits": the CEO of CMA-CGM warns of the effects of a tax on business competitiveness

2022-09-27T16:05:17.833Z

"If I am penalized because I have to pay a special tax, what are my competitors doing?" Asked Rodolphe Saadé, facing the deputies, on Tuesday.



New round of hearings in the National Assembly on superprofits.

This Tuesday, before the deputies of the flash mission on corporate taxation, the boss of the tricolor giant CMA-CGM spoke, a few days after his counterparts from the Engie and TotalEnergies groups.

While he said he was open to discussions on additional efforts for household purchasing power and "

not against taxes

" in general, Rodolphe Saadé warned elected officials against the harmful effects of a tax on "

superprofits

", putting forward two arguments.

First, "

establishing a French surcharge

" would weaken the competitiveness of French companies, against competitors, particularly Asian ones, who would not be affected, he argued.

If I am penalized because I have to pay a special tax, what do my competitors do?

There is no reason for me to be the only one, if a tax must be recorded.

You have to be fair with CMA-CGM

,” insisted the CEO.

Read alsoThe debate on the taxation of superprofits is on the menu for the start of the parliamentary term

In addition, the significant profits made by the operator are reinvested, at “

90%

”, in the company, the rest being returned to the shareholders, detailed Rodolphe Saadé.

However, taxing profits amounts to limiting the group's investment margin, while huge sums must be put on the table to prepare for CMA-CGM's energy transition.

A tax on “

superprofits

” would weaken the future, argued the leader, “

in a crucial sector for the economy and the sovereignty of our country

”.

Rather than a purely French tax, the businessman therefore pleaded for a tax to be global, otherwise French companies, including CMA-CGM, would be disadvantaged.

Otherwise, the tax should be at least European, or Brussels could decide to review the tonnage tax, which makes it possible to tax not the profits, but rather the capacities deployed, and also affects Asian competition going to the ports of the continent. .

I don't want to have different tools from my competitors

,” he insisted, adding that his group planned to invest 18 billion dollars this year.

The businessman's opposition to a French tax on “

superprofits

” has been known for a long time.

France is the only country that wants to tax shipowners.

This tax would be an advantage given to my competitors

, ”he already denounced in July, in our columns.

Before him, facing the deputies, the boss of TotalEnergies had also issued a warning: “

Our country is suffering from deindustrialization […].

Everything you do in Parliament is listened to by all investors

,” launched Patrick Pouyanné, emphasizing that “

signals that would be unfavorable

” to investment would risk limiting the attractiveness of nations.

“Efforts” already made

Despite record profits recorded since the beginning of the year by his company, Rodolphe Saadé was cautious, recalling that freight rates, until recently set at 13,000 dollars per 40-foot container between China and Europe , collapsed.

For two months, we have observed a market inversion

,” he noted, emphasizing the “

cyclical

” aspect of his activity.

The manager also defended his company, singled out for the "

superprofits

" made thanks to the price hike: CMA-CGM has "

done a lot to help the purchasing power of the French

", he argued. .

Last action to date, last July, CMA-CGM announced a reduction of 750 euros in the freight rate per 40-foot container, "

for all imports from Asia of all its customers in France

".

A position that no competitor has followed, said Rodolphe Saadé.

I do it when I can.

I already do a lot

,” he said.

If the shipowner hoped that this drop would be perceptible on the “

prices of products intended for end consumers

”, its CEO was skeptical in the face of deputies.

How to share this envelope of 750 euros?

It is up to the State to do what is necessary for these 750 euros to reach the end consumer

, ”he replied, when asked about prices in Reunion.

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2022-09-27

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