x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

DP World to sell stake in Australian container company for Dh408m

DP World sells remaining stake in container services firm P&O Trans Australia for A$106 million, its second sale in Australia in the last five months.

A shipping container at DP World's container berth in Australia is loaded onto a truck.
A shipping container at DP World's container berth in Australia is loaded onto a truck.

DP World, the world's third-largest ports operator, is selling its stake in an Australian container services company for A$106 million (Dh408.3m), its second asset disposal in the country.

The agreement to sell its shares in P&O Trans Australia (Pota) follows the December sale of its port holdings to the private equity company Citi Infrastructure Investors (CII) in a deal worth US$1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn).

DP World will sell the stake in Pota to Qube Logistics, it said yesterday.

"DP World has agreed to sell its remaining shareholding in P&O Trans Australia … to Qube Logistics," the ports company said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market. "The total amount payable will be A$106m, which includes the purchase of DP World's shares and related loans. The transaction is expected to complete by the end of April 2011."

The deal will provide Qube with a 94.5 per cent stake in Pota management, Qube said yesterday. DP World is a unit of Dubai World, the state-backed conglomerate.

The ports company is one of the biggest maritime outfits in the Middle East and yesterday pledged $500,000 to fight piracy in east Africa, including a direct donation of $100,000 into the UN Trust Fund to Support the Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

The rest of the money will be invested in the Port Community Livelihood and Security Initiative, a collaborative project in which DP World participates that is already under way in Africa.

DP World first invested in Pota in 2006 and sold a controlling stake in the company a year later to a group of investors that included Chris Corrigan, the current chairman of Qube's advisory committee.

DP World's deal in December to sell CII 75 per cent of its shares in its Australian ports included container terminals in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle as part of the company's drive to focus its investments on newer emerging markets with higher growth potential.

But DP World will keep a continuing agreement to run the assets. The transaction was expected to be fully concluded in the first quarter of this year, although no official statements have been made.

"We share a long-term commitment to invest in and grow our terminals in the region over the long term, and together we look forward to building on our successful track record of operating container terminals in the region," Mohammed Sharaf, the chief executive of DP World, said at the time.

Last month, DP World reported "positive and encouraging" results for last year, with consolidated throughput up 9 per cent to 27.8 million 20-foot equivalent units compared with 2009, and revenues up 9 per cent to $3.07bn. Profits for the year were up 35 per cent at $450m.

igale@thenational.ae