Dubai Finishes Buying P&O

Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Reports indicate that Dubai Ports World, a state-owned international port operator, cleared its last major hurdle yesterday in acquiring a British company that helps run several U.S. terminals the companies said yesterday. The acquisition of Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co., whose shareholders agreed yesterday to accept Dubai Ports World's offer of 3.9 billion pounds, or $6.8 billion, in cash, would create the world's third-largest port operator, with 51 terminals in 30 countries. It will also give the aggressive Dubai a larger foothold in the booming trade between Asia and the United States. P&O officials have said they expect the company to be run separately out of London and do not expect changes in U.S. operations in New York, New Jersey, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Baltimore. P&O is the terminal operator and stevedore for container cargo at the Seagirt and Dundalk marine terminals, where it has about 65 employees.

The Dubai Ports World's purchase of P&O has not drawn opposition from world regulators or U.S. Homeland Security officials, who have labeled ports as potential terrorist targets.

Dubai Ports World, formerly Dubai Ports International, began as the port authority in Dubai. In 1999, it began aggressively buying up other port operations in the Middle East and around the world, Shaerf said. In January 2005, the company moved farther into Asia and Europe with the acquisition of the international terminal business of CSX Corp. With that acquisition, it changed its named to Dubai Ports World. The company reported that business has been growing 20 percent a year since 2001, but as a private company, it does not reveal its income. Its port in Dubai, one of the world's largest for containers, is supported by a state economic entity that provides tax and other incentives to corporations moving to the emirate. Oil production and tourism support the hot Dubai economy. Source: Baltimore Sun

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