Global Ports Holdings chooses to list in London as part of "ambitious plans" to grow

Oliver Gill
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Daily Life In The Carribean
Lord Mandelson was last month appointed to the board of the Istanbul-headquartered company (Source: Getty)

The world’s largest cruise port operator picked London for its £200m float because it had the best access to capital markets that would facilitate its grand growth plans.

Global Ports Holdings (GPH), an Istanbul-headquartered firm that boasts former Labour cabinet member Lord Mandelson to its board, announced plans to list earlier today and choose London ahead of raft of other global locations.

Chief executive Emre Sayin told City A.M.: “We looked at a number of locations for listing and London has the best access to capital and very sophisticated investors that fit with the sort of company that we are.”

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The group currently operates 14 ports across eight countries and is keen to expand through acquisition of a number of new sites.

Its targets, Savin explained, are usually state-owned and GPH will seek to augment earnings by building services and retail outlets in a similar vain to the airport boom that started several decades ago.

He added: “Our ambition is grow and expand the business.

We have an incredible opportunity to grow in Europe, the Caribbean and Asia.

We have this first mover advantage and happen to be the only global consolidator of cruise ports.

Established in 2004, GPH operates ports that service around 7.5m passengers each year and has a 25 per cent market share in the Mediterranean.

GPH's majority owner is Istanbul-listed Global Investment Holdings, which owns nearly 90 per cent of the firm. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) took control of the rest of the shares in November 2015.

The firm said it would make a primary offer of £75m on the market, adding dividend pay-outs will be set at a minimum of £25m in 2017.

Despite making the announcement on the same day as Parliament voted in favour of a General Election on 8 June with the victorious government facing tricky Brexit negotiations, Savin was not letting political events put the firm off the success of the float. He said:

The reasons I described were valid before Brexit and they will be valid after Brexit. I have no concerns about that.

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The firm's founder and chairman Mehmet Kutman added:

"We come to the London market with an excellent management team, a clear strategy for international growth and a strong pipeline of opportunities ahead of us.

"I am very proud to be the chairman of Global Ports Holding at this point in the Company’s development and particularly wanted to thank Gregory Michael Kiez, my late partner, who as the co-founder of Global Ports Holding, helped create this unique and exciting business.”

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