Abu Dhabi's AD Ports buys Spanish logistics company Noatum in $681m deal

The 'value and earnings accretive acquisition' will help to expand the company's global footprint

Noatum Auto Terminal. The acquisition of Noatum will help AD Ports Group to become a global logistics platform Photo: AD Ports Group
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AD Ports Group, the operator of industrial cities and free zones in the emirate, has acquired Spain’s integrated logistics platform Noatum as it continues to expand globally.

The enterprise value for 100 per cent ownership of the Spanish company amounts to Dh2.5 billion ($681 million), AD Ports said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded. The deal will be fully funded through a new acquisition loan.

The “value and earnings accretive acquisition” significantly broadens AD Ports Group’s global footprint and positions it among the leading logistics and freight forwarding companies in the world, the company said.

“This ambitious acquisition brings a major global logistics platform into the AD Ports Group family, significantly enhancing our global connectivity and extending the range of maritime, logistics and ports solutions,” Falah Al Ahbabi, chairman of AD Ports Group, said.

“This acquisition makes AD Ports Group one of the most significant global players in the finished vehicle logistics, which we intend to expand in our home and core markets.”

The Noatum acquisition is Abu Dhabi Ports Group's third international investment this year as the company continues to expand.

In September, the company completed the acquisition of a 70 per cent equity stake in Egypt's International Associated Cargo Carrier for Dh514 million. The deal, which was announced in July, gives AD Ports Group majority stakes in IACC's portfolio of Egyptian maritime companies, Transmar International Shipping Company and Transcargo International.

Earlier this month, AD Ports Group bought an 80 per cent stake in a Dubai-based global container shipping company Global Feeder Shipping for Dh2.9 billion, implying a 100 per cent enterprise value of Dh3.7 billion.

GFS, which has one of the largest fleets of container ships globally, will be integrated into AD Ports' maritime cluster, which already offers a comprehensive portfolio of shipping, offshore and subsea services, the company said at the time.

Noatum has “high growth potential and capacity to scale” and AD Ports intends to create a market-leading international logistics brand, merging its existing logistics business with the company, it said.

“Moving forward, Noatum will lead AD Ports Group’s logistics cluster, consolidating the company’s existing logistics offering into its operations,” the company said.

Noatum, whose origins date back to 1963, operates in three business areas — logistics, maritime and port terminals — with market-leading positions in Spain and Turkey and a significant presence in the US, UK, China, and South-east Asia.

Noatum, which has presence in 26 countries, posted Dh6.91bn in revenue in the past 12 months. Despite its geographical diversification, about 75 per cent of its revenue is denominated in US dollars or euros.

“Bringing Noatum into our integrated network of businesses will add scale and new layers of expertise, supporting both our global ambitions and our contribution to economic diversification within the UAE,” Captain Mohamed Al Shamisi, managing director and group chief executive of AD Ports, said.

“Noatum operates an asset-light model with a high cash conversion rate and will make an immediate contribution to our financials.”

Established in 2006, AD Ports Group owns and operates 10 ports in the UAE, including Khalifa Port, Zayed Port, Mussaffah Port, Fujairah Terminals, Community Ports, Kamsar Port and the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal, as well as a terminal in Guinea.

It also manages more than 550 square kilometres of industrial zones and an end-to-end logistics business, besides offering a range of maritime services.

AD Ports Group, which made its debut on the ADX in February after raising Dh4 billion from its share sale, in August signed a preliminary agreement with India's Adani Ports to explore joint investment opportunities in Tanzania.

It is also collaborating with Hong Kong-based Hutchison Ports to identify business opportunities in logistics and port activities across the GCC, Africa and Asia in the maritime and logistics sector.

The company has signed agreements to develop logistics and food trading projects in Uzbekistan, and a partnership with the Aqaba Development Corporation to develop tourism, logistics, transport and digital infrastructure in the Jordanian coastal city.

Updated: November 20, 2022, 3:30 PM