Investors prepare to battle it out for stake in British ports group

Caitlin Morrison
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ABP runs 21 ports in the UK, including at Hull, Southampton and various sites in Wales
INVESTORS are preparing competing offers for a major stake in Associated British Ports (ABP) ahead of the deadline for first-round bids this week.

A 33 per cent stake in the group, which owns and runs 21 ports throughout the UK, is up for grabs, after Goldman Sachs and Prudential put their portions of the company up for sale last year.

Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners owns 23 per cent, while Prudential, through its infrastructure arm, Infracapital, owns 10 per cent.

Current shareholders Borealis, a Canadian pension scheme, and GIC, the Singapore sovereign wealth fund, both with 33 per cent stakes in the group, are set to take on an additional seven per cent.

The remaining holding has reportedly caught the eye of British Telecom and the National Pension Service of Korea, which has entered a consortium with Canadian firm OPTrust, Dutch fund APG and Gatwick-owner Global Infrastructure Partners.

Earlier reports stated that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority had teamed up with private equity fund 3i to make an offer.

Industry Funds Management, Canada Pension Plan and the Universities Superannuation Scheme are also said to be interested in buying into the ports group.

ABP de-listed from the London Stock Exchange in 2006, after being sold to the current set of shareholders in a £2.8bn deal.