P&O Steam Navigation Co. will de-merge its cruises division to form a separate group, allowing it to focus on running its ferries and ports. The new group, the third largest cruise group which includes the Princess Cruise line, will list in New York and London by the end of 2000 and allow traditionally diversified P&O to tap directly into a rapidly growing cruise market.
The announcement comes one day after Carnival Corp
. -- the world's leading cruise operator -- and Malaysia's Star Cruises joined forces to buy Norwegian cruise firm NCL Holding. P&O also said it would expand its European ports and logistics business via a joint venture with Duisburg Port to develop a major inland terminal and logistics terminal at the German port. In addition, it announced the signing of an agreement to buy the container and general cargo business of Seaport Terminal in Antwerp, Belgium, subject to regulatory approval.