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The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), which manages investments for the gas-rich nation, has offered the equivalent of 740 million euros in the form of loan guarantees, French business magazine La Lettre de l’Expansion reported.

“CMA is in discussion with the Qatar fund,” a source close to the matter told AFP, without providing more details. An agreement could be reached by the northern hemisphere summer.

Contacted by AFP, CMA CGM refused to comment.

The report said that Qatar was considering whether to use its investment in CMA CGM as part of its planned maritime hub in the port of Doha, the report said.

CMA CGM, one of the leading private sector employers in the southern French port city of Marseille, is a family-owned business headed by its founder, Jacques Saade.

In November, Saade said that the group, which owns 360 ships and employs 16,400 people, was seeking capital from investment funds and needed between 300 million and 400 million dollars.

Creditor banks agreed to provide the group, which was saddled with more than five billion dollars in debt, with loans worth 500 million dollars in December in exchange for a management reorganisation.

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