Dubai Ports To Acquire P&O

Dubai Ports World (DPW) appears to be living up to its promise to “achieve a balanced global portfolio with critical mass.” DPW, which currently operates 17 container terminals, four free-trade zones, and three logistics centers in 14 countries is reportedly preparing to make a bid for UK-based port and ferry operator P&O.

P&O (Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation) has been disposing of various properties to generate revenues following a decline in first-half results. The company reported first-half pre-tax profits of £30.6 million ($53.9 million), down from £53.4 million ($94.1 million) for the same period a year earlier. P&O sold its 25% stake in shipping line P&O Nedlloyd to AP Møller Maersk for €2.3 billion ($2.76 billion) in May 2005. The company said in August it was ahead of its goal of generating £325 million ($573 million) in revenues from property disposals by the end of 2005.

Following the sale of its shipping line interests, Dubai Ports Authority and DPI Terminals were combined recently to form DPW. Part of the group’s global expansion included the January 2005 acquisition of CSX World Terminals for $1.15 billion. This added terminals in Hong Kong, Tianjin, and Yantai China as well as Australia, Europe and South America.

The Dubai group started by operating the port in Dubai and the Jebel Ali free trade zone. It then began expanding in the Middle East to operate terminals in Jedda, Saudi Arabia and at the Port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. It added operations at Djibouti and at ports in India, Romania and South Korea.

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