A bidding battle is on the cards as two big investment consortiums made competing and equal bids for Associated British Ports.
Australia’s Macquarie Bank is proposing paying at least 3.8 billion euros for Britain’s largest port’s operator, while a group led by US investment bank Goldman Sachs had earlier raised its offer to the same amount. AB Ports said it is now evaluating both consortium’s proposals. ABP operates 21 of the UK’s 51 major ports including Tilbury, Ipswich, Plymouth, Hull, Swansea, Ayr and Southampton. It handles nearly a quarter of Britain’s seaborne cargo.
This is the latest in a series of takeover moves. Mersey Docks and PD Ports have also been bought during the past year. Port groups worldwide have become attractive takeover targets because they provide stable income and property assets. In addition shipping is buoyant due to the growth in world trade
The International Monetary Fund forecasts shipping volume should grow by 7.6% this year. In March, Dubai Ports World completed a 5.4 billion euro takeover of P&O after a bidding war with Singapore’s PSA International.