DP World, Dubai's port operator, is to focus on emerging markets, its chairman said this afternoon, after the company announced it had raised $1.5 billion by selling off 75 per cent of its Australian operations.
The company said it would make profit in excess of $300m on the sale of DP World Australia to Citi Infrastructure Investors and an institutional partner, which was not identified.
The cash injection will be used to pay down DP World's outstanding debts, which are currently $5.9bn.
In a conference call, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of DP World, said that there were "new opportunities in higher-margin markets," such as Southeast Asia, Africa and South America, but stressed that the port operator was not abandoning developed markets.
"Our focus is on emerging markets, but we're not going to be going out and selling [ports in] our mature markets," he added.
He added that there will be no changes to staff or management at the company's five existing container terminals in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle.
"It will be business as usual for DP World and our customers," he said.
Mr Sulayem added that the company was in the early stages of negotiations to bid for an expansion of facilities at San Antonio Port in Chile.
Investors said that the sale of DP World Australia had been expected for some time.
"It shouldn't come as a surprise as they have been mulling an IPO since January," said Shehzad Janab, head of asset management at Daman Investment.
"We knew they had various international parcels and that left the Australian assets. After the reshuffle, it was either an IPO or a trade sell."