MAERSK's standalone port operator APM Terminals (APMT) has found buyers, Alinda Capital Partners and Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd, for its highly automated Virginia facility built from scratch seven years ago.
APMT chief financial officer Christian Moller Laursen told Lloyd's List that buyers had been found for APM Terminals' Virginia terminal, which it owns the facility, but ceded operational control in 2010 to the agency that runs the port.
The two investment funds intend to raise US$450 million through a private placement bond this week to fund the acquisition, said the report. The amount is lower than original $540 million cost of the terminal. Sale price has not been disclosed.
APMT Virginia, the most high-tech terminal in the US, will be renamed Virginia International Gateway.
Weak volumes after the 2009 global economic downturn and failure to raise productivity, induced APMT to cede operational control to Virginia International Terminals while retaining ownership of the site.
Mr Laursen indicated that ownership of the terminal as a passive investor did not fit with APM Terminals' global strategy and ambition to operate and develop ports.
The Virginia Ports Authority (VPA) owns Norfolk International Terminals, Newport News Marine Terminal, Virginia Inland Port and the Portsmouth Marine Terminal. It leases the APM Terminals complex and the Port of Richmond.
Hampton Roads is regarded as one of the most important ports on the east coast, partly because its 53 foot draft gives terminals on the James River the ability to handle the biggest ships afloat without dredging.
Virginia also is ideally located as transshipment hub, with good road and rail links serving a nearby rich hinterland with easy access to the south, north and the Midwest.
Source : SN-TR.