Dubai Ports World plans to sell American interests within six months

| 3/16/2006

Dubai Ports World has announced that it will sell all of its U.S. port operations to an American buyer within six months.

The United Arab Emirates-owned company sparked a firestorm of controversy in February when it acquired Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., a British company that manages some terminal operations at 21 U.S. ports.

DP World has not yet said who the U.S. buyer will be, but there are only a handful of U.S. companies big enough to handle the operations at 21 ports.

The Washington Times reported Friday, March 10, the short list might be down to just two companies.

The Times quoted Peter Shaerf, managing director of merchant banking firm AMA Capital Partners LLC, NY, as saying that SSA Marine and Maher Terminals are the two most likely candidates.

The Associated Press reported Thursday, March 16, that DP World said it is working on “an expedited sale process” and expects to sell the operations for about $700 million.

This is the first time the company has made clear that its intentions are to sell the operations, rather than simply turn over management.

Until the sale is complete, U.S. operations will be managed independently by P&O Ports North America Inc., a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of P&O Steam Navigation Co.