COSCO Swoops to Own APMT Zeebrugge

 12 Sep 2017 10.26am

APM Terminals has agreed to sell Hong Kong-based COSCO Shipping Ports its 76% majority stake in APM Terminals’ 1 million TEU capacity Zeebrugge container terminal.

APM Terminals (APMT) opened the Zeebrugge terminal in October 2006 and in 2014 sold a 24% share to COSCO Shipping Ports.

APMT has finally sold COSCO Shipping Ports the remainder so it has 100% ownership of the terminal. 

Alongside other members of the Ocean Alliance, COSCO Shipping Ports' parent company, COSCO Shipping, is a major customer of the port, with a long term interest in growing port volumes, as well as being the world’s largest shipping fleet operator by tonnage. 

Further to this, COSCO Shipping Ports is a co-shareholder and strategic partner in several operations within APMT's global terminal network.

These include the Suez Canal Container Terminal, in Egypt, and both Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal (QQCT) and Guangzhou South China Oceangate Container Terminal (GOCT) in China.

The Chinese port operator in 2016 acquired a 40% share in the deep-water APM Terminals Vado, Italy terminal project under construction.

APMT advised that there would be no change to its commercial and operational strategies, as APM Terminals Zeebrugge is a common user facility with a strong track-record of serving alliances.

Read a related technical paper from Drewry on how the formation of ever larger carrier alliances affects port and shipping markets.

As part of the transaction, APM Terminals has proposed to buy back 25% of the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) shares and will then sell them together with APM Terminals’ own 51% stake in Zeebrugge to COSCO SHIPPING Ports.

Further details of the transaction have not been disclosed which is subject to customary regulatory approvals, which are expected to wrap up in three to four months.

The key terms of the proposed sale of APM Terminals’ to COSCO SHIPPING Ports.

Wim Lagaay, Head of APMT's US and Europe Portfolio, said: “Our decision to divest Zeebrugge reflects our portfolio strategy to focus on long term core assets. 

“We believe COSCO SHIPPING Ports is the right long-term owner of the Zeebrugge facility and will continue to grow the port for customers, employees and the Zeebrugge stakeholder community.”

Read more: APMT is in talks with Indian conglomerates Adani Group and JSW Group over selling off a 74% stake in Gateway Terminals India.

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