DP World eyes London listing

PORT operator DP World is looking to list on the London Stock Exchange after failing to drum up sufficient investor interest on the Nasdaq Dubai bourse.

The Dubai-based group, which is more than three-quarters owned by the crisis-hit conglomerate Dubai World, said it was disappointed with the market valuation of the company and will now “evaluate all available options.”

It could seek a secondary listing on the LSE as soon as the second quarter of 2010.

“After an extensive period of review with advisers, and discussions with shareholders, the board of DP World has decided to seek a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange whilst maintaining the existing primary listing on Nasdaq Dubai,” the company said in a statement.

“The board remains committed to our shareholders in the region and believe that they will also benefit from this move.”

The move would mark the return of much of the former businesses of P&O to the London market. DP World took over the group in a deal worth almost £4bN in March 2006.

The world’s fourth largest container terminal operator has struggled since listing on Nasdaq Dubai in November 2007 in what was the then the Middle East’s largest IPO at $21.6 billion.

Its shares have lost around 67 per cent of their $1.30 flotation price. DP World is now valued at around $7.15 billion.

However, despite the underperformance of its shares, the company’s balance sheet has remained robust with revenue of $1.38 billion and pre-tax profits of $216 million in the first half of 2009.

In October, the group posted a 6 per cent fall in third-quarter container volumes amid tough trading conditions. However, it added that its 2009 results should be in line with market expectations.