DP World eyes more investment opportunities after Topaz Energy deal

The company optimistic on trade growth despite US, China tensions

Dubai Nasdaq-listed DP World plans to return to private ownership following a $16.75 per share offer to minority shareholders - a 29 per cent premium on the previous day's closing price. The National
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DP World, the world's largest port operator, is eyeing more investment opportunities to boost growth after acquiring oil services company Topaz Energy and Marine for an enterprise value of $1.08 billion (Dh3.96bn), a top executive said.

"Our company has always been active and very proactive in terms of looking at investments, which builds up the concept, which we called enabling the trade," Mohammed Al Muallem, chief executive and managing director of DP World, UAE told The National on the sidelines of Dubai Maritime Agenda conference on Sunday.

“We did that (Topaz Energy deal) as part of supply chain component,” he said without specifying what potential deals are in the pipeline.

In July this year, DP World acquired Topaz Energy marking the ports operator's first foray into the oil and gas sector. DP World has been on an investment spree since 2018 as its growth strategy evolves to include the wider logistics supply chain. It snapped up UK-based transport and logistics company P&O Ferries, Indian rail logistics company Kribhco Infrastructure and Chile ports operator Puertos y Logistica.

DP World is focusing on diversifying its business from being a port operator into an effective supply chain player, he said.

“We used to be only the port operator but today we are in free zones, we are in logistic parks, we are in logistic companies and we are into freight rails."

Despite trade tensions between the US and China, the world’s two biggest economies, Mr Muallem said the trade continues to grow and the impact due to the dispute will be short term.

“We don’t believe trade has really gone down (due to trade tensions), it might have gone down in certain areas but if you look at India, China, the growth is growing compared to the rest of the world, so may be at certain places, it will be slow but in certain places, it is picking up.”

‘We believe in being optimistic and these things are short term.”

In August DP Word reported a 27 per cent increase in profit for the first half of 2019 on the back of higher sales, which were driven by growth in non-container revenue. Net profit attributable to shareholders of the company for the six-month period climbed to $753 million while revenue climbed 32 per cent to $3.46bn.

DP World, which is the largest investor in Virgin Hyperloop One, operates 150 facilities in 40 countries and moves 190,000 containers per day, among the biggest port operators in the world by cargo tonnes.