DP World shareholders approve $2.6bn acquisition of Jebel Ali free zone owner

About 97 per cent of Economic Zones World’s business comes from Jebel Ali, the first free zone in the region, which dates back nearly 30 years.
DP World's Jebel Ali port handled 4 million TEUs in the third quarter. Pawan Singh / The National
DP World's Jebel Ali port handled 4 million TEUs in the third quarter. Pawan Singh / The National

Shareholders of DP World on Thursday approved the acquisition of the company that owns the Jebel Ali Port and free zone as well as the delisting of the port operator from the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

DP World purchased Economic Zones World (EZW) from the Dubai World conglomerate, which holds 80.45 per cent of DP World stock.

The US$2.6 billion EZW deal will help to reduce the debt burden of Dubai World, which is looking to strike a deal with creditors to restructure US$15 billion worth of debt in long-running talks with more than 100 banks and financial institutions.

About 97 per cent of EZW’s business comes from Jebel Ali, the first free zone in the region, which dates back nearly 30 years.

DP World, which first listed its shares on the LSE in 2011, is delisting because of disappointing volumes. Its shares will remain listed on Nasdaq Dubai.

Shareholders almost unanimously approved both proposals at an extraordinary general assembly meeting held yesterday.

They also ratified the appointment of Mark Russell as an independent non-executive director, who was appointed to the board with effect from August.

It is a compelling strategic move that will allow us to coordinate planned expansion, deliver an improved customer proposition, accelerate growth and enhance shareholder value,” said Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the chairman of DP World.

The sale includes Jebel Ali port, the biggest in the Middle East.

The EZW transaction will be completed during the second quarter of next year and the delisting will take effect in January.

DP World shares closed up 2.6 per cent in Dubai on Thursday.

dalsaadi@thenational.ae

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Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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