22 September 2015

[220915.EN.BIZ] Oman Stays on Despite China Merchants-Cosco's Turkish Terminal Takeover

OMAN's State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), the main sovereign wealth fund of the Sultanate of Oman, plans to retain its 35 per cent stake in the Turkish container port of Kumport, where Hong Kong's China Merchants, Cosco Pacific and CIC Capital have purchased 65 per cent.

SGRF confirmed the decision in the context of the majority shareholder, FIBA Holding, announcing its decision to sell its 65 per cent stake to the Chinese consortium.

Kumport is the third largest container terminal in Turkey and is located towards the north west of the Marmara Sea, on the European side of Istanbul, notes the Times of Oman.

It is an important strategic location, placed at the junction of Europe and Asia. The terminal is located only 35 kilometres from the Bosphorus Strait, the sole gateway into the Black Sea.

The six-berth terminal currently has a shoreline of 2,180 metres and a maximum depth of 16.5 metres, and is capable of accommodating the world's largest container vessels currently in service.

The container handling capacity of the terminal is pegged at 1.8 million TEU and could potentially be expanded to 3.5 million TEU. In 2014, Kumport handled a total container throughput of 1.4 million TEU; accounting for 17 per cent of Turkey's total, with the compound annual growth rate exceeding 30 per cent between 2009 and 2014.

SGRF has achieved significant returns through this investment and the value of its business has more than doubled since its original investment in 2011. As a long-term investor, SGRF has a strategic focus on ports and logistics as one of its key themes for direct investment, and the investment in Kumport is an important one in that context.

China Merchant's participation in the consortium represents the second collaboration with SGRF. They are also entered a partnership in the development of a port and special economic zone in Bagamoyo in Tanzania in October 2014.

Said SGRF executive president Abdulsalam bin Mohammed Al Murshidi: "Our partnership in this venture has been very positive and Kumport has become a very successful port in Turkey, which generates strong financial returns."

Mr Al Murshidi said that with FIBA now exiting, the company is entering into a new exciting phase.

He spoke of China Merchants and Cosco Pacific's portfolio of container terminals, and their experience in investing, managing and operating overseas port operations, as well as their respective relationships with liners.

This, he said, "will add further value to Kumport operations. This will strengthen its position and make Kumport a key location for the 21st century Maritime Silk 'One Belt One Road' initiative'".

Source : HKSG.

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