Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 11 December 2019

DP World to acquire Chilean ports operator in South America expansion push

DP World will offer $502 million to take full ownership of Santiago-listed Puertos y Logistica

DP World will acquire Chilean ports operator Puertos y Logistica in a South America expansion drive. Courtesy DP World
DP World will acquire Chilean ports operator Puertos y Logistica in a South America expansion drive. Courtesy DP World

DP World, one of the world's biggest port operators, agreed to acquire Chile ports operator Puertos y Logistica (Pulgosa), giving it access to five regional ports as it expands its footprint in South America.

The Dubai-based operator will take a 71 .3 per cent stake in the Santiago-listed company from Minera Valparaiso and other shareholders associated with the Matte Group, DP World said on Sunday. It will offer $502 million (Dh1.84 billion) in a tender for the full ownership of the business, which has a market value of $170.1m.

Pulgosa operates a long-term concession for Puerto Central (PCE) in San Antonio in addition to owning and operating Puerto Lirquen (PLQ) in southern Chile.

"These new assets will allow DP World to serve cargo owners and shipping lines at five key gateways on the west coast of South America in Posorja [Ecuador], Callao and Paita [Peru] and San Antonio and Lirquen [Chile]," said Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World chairman. "The overall value proposition for these terminals is compelling."

DP World operates several ports in South America including container terminals in Peru's Port Callao and Brazil's Port of Santos and Argentina's Terminales Rio de la Plata in Buenos Aires. The expansion push in South America comes after DP World warned in October that the near-term outlook for Dubai's Jebel Ali Port remained challenging. Its third quarter consolidated volumes for the Americas and Australia rose 17 per cent year on year.

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DP World fell 1.09 per cent at the market close on Sunday on Nasdaq Dubai, where its shares are traded.

Pulogsa has net financial debt of $226m as of September 30 and the deal is expected to close in the first half of the year, DP World said.

The UAE company expects the acquisition to be "earnings accretive" in the first full year of consolidation and that it will be financed from existing balance sheet resources.

"PCE and PLQ are both ‘best in class’ terminals in their respective markets, with long-term operating rights, strong cargo diversification and significant capability for expansion," Mr bin Sulayem said.

PCE is one of Chile's largest container ports with a capacity of more than one million Twenty-Foot Equivalent (TEUs) and potential for further capacity expansion, according to DP World.

PLQ is a multipurpose terminal that handles containers, general cargo and dry bulk. The port is positioned next to the country’s second-largest city and industrial hub Concepción and is set to benefit from the pulp and lumber industry in Southern Chile, according to DP World.

DP World has appointed Scotiabank its financial advisor.

Updated: January 13, 2019 05:19 PM

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