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DP World intends to buy back P&O Ferries

Terminal operator’s move to strengthen its European short-sea presence follows last year’s acquisition of Unifeeder.

   Global marine terminal operator DP World on Wednesday announced that it will acquire the U.K. short-sea transportation services provider P&O Ferries for 322 million British pounds (about $420 million).
   P&O Ferries operates a fleet of 21 roll-on/roll-off feeder-size vessels across 11 ports in the North and Irish seas. 
   The acquisition also includes P&O Ferrymasters, the companys supply chain services arm. 
   According to DP World, P&O Ferries’ revenue after EBITDA in fiscal year 2017 was about 100 million British pounds ($131 million).  
   The transaction is still subject to customary regulatory approvals but is expected to close during the first half of 2019. 
   DP World previously owned P&O Ferries through an acquisition in 2006, but sold the entity shortly thereafter to its parent, Dubai World. 
   “We are pleased to announce the return of P&O Ferries back into the DP World family,” said DP World’s Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem (pictured), in a statement. “This transaction is in line with our strategy to grow in complementary sectors, strengthen our product offering and play a wider role in the global supply chain as a trade enabler.”
   DP World’s P&O Ferries acquisition is expected to not only strengthen the company’s presence in Europe’s short-sea transport sector but generate more container traffic through its London-Gateway marine terminal. 
   Last year, DP World acquired Denmark-based Unifeeder Group, another short-sea transportation services provider and the largest feeder vessel operator in Europe, for 660 million euros ($765.4 million). At the time of the acquisition, it was reported that Unifeeder transported about 3.2 million TEUs annually to and from European ports on its fleet of 60 short-term chartered vessels.

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.