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American Shipper

Macquarie hires Scavone to oversee port investments

Macquarie hires Scavone to oversee port investments

Competition by private financiers for port infrastructure assets has spilled over to human assets with the talent to maximize returns on their investments.

   Macquarie Capital, a fund affiliated with the Australian Macquarie Bank that has pioneered private sector investment in infrastructure, said Thursday it has lured Robert Scavone from terminal operator Ports America to oversee its North American port portfolio.

   Ports America, previously known as P&O Ports North America, is owned by insurance and investment services giant American International Group, which acquired the business last March from Dubai's Dubai Ports World after a political firestorm over foreign ownership and security.

   Ports America, based in Iselin, N.J., operates terminals in five major East Coast ports, as well as stevedoring businesses in 19 East and Gulf coasts ports.

   The managing partner for AIG Highstar Capital, AIG’s infrastructure investment fund, publicly disclosed for the first time in the Baltimore Sun this week that the equity fund paid $1.3 billion for P&O. The figure is in line with informed speculation at the time that the terminal operation went for more than $1 billion.

   Scavone was executive vice president and general counsel at Ports America, where he was responsible for operating joint ventures and business development throughout the Americas and the Caribbean, and for labor, industry and government relations. He has been in the shipping industry for more than 20 years, and worked at P&O Ports North America since 2001.

   In his new role as managing director, he will oversee Macquarie’s North American port interests, which include Halterm Ltd. and Fraser Surrey Docks in Canada, and the TTI-Hanjin terminals in Long Beach and Oakland, Calif., and Seattle.

   Macquarie Infrastructure Partners acquired Vancouver-based Fraser Surrey Docks from APTL Terminals early this year and Halterm, a 72-acre container terminal and cargo handling facility in Halifax, Nova Scotia, at the end of last year. In 2006, another Macquarie fund purchased a 40 percent stake in Hanjin Shipping’s terminal assets in Taiwan, Japan and the United States for about $870 million.

   Scavone, who will be based in New York, will also be responsible for acquisition and integration of new ports within the Macquarie group of companies.

   'Rob's knowledge, experience and networks will complement the financial, commercial and operational skills already existing within the Macquarie ports team. The recruitment of senior people with proven industry experience is a continuation of our strategy of having industry and operational know-how in-house as part of the day to day team,' said Richard Timbs, global head of Macquarie Capital’s port sector.

   'Rob's appointment therefore represents another step in Macquarie's ongoing commitment to ports, and in its continuing focus on developing a global capability in ports expertise,” he added. ' Eric Kulisch

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