Port Consolidation

April 24, 2007 (LBO) – Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping line, is to buy a bigger stake in South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), Colombo Port’s privatized transshipment facility, in a deal that sees Dubai Ports World selling out. Other shareholders of SAGT are Evergeen, SLPA, and multilateral lenders. Maersk is currently Colombo’s biggest customer and moves its cargo through both SAGT, which runs the Queen Elizabeth Quay container terminal, and the state-owned Jaya Container Terminal.

The move follows the acquisition of different companies in the P&O shipping group, P&O Nedlloyd and P&O Ports, two of the original shareholders in SAGT, by AP Moller, Maersk’s parent company, and Dubai Ports World (DPW).

John Keells Holdings is currently the dominant shareholder of SAGT, which has become one of the conglomerate’s main money-spinners in recent years because of booming transshipment cargo.

DPW is a Middle Eastern port authority that is fast emerging as a global port operator competing with the likes of PSA Corp., which runs Singapore’s port.

DPW is going to pull out of SAGT and sell its stake to AP Moller-Maersk, a senior Colombo port official said.

Maersk acquired an indirect 10 percent stake