DP World Plans Expansion in Latin America, Africa, Chairman Says

DP World Ltd. (DPW), the world’s third- largest port operator, wants to expand in Latin America and Africa as cost of investment in the U.S. remains high, the Dubai-based company’s chairman said.

“We are well placed in Latin America in key markets,” Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said in an interview March 22. “There are other markets we would like to go to. We do negotiate with certain countries in Latin American to acquire ports.” He declined to specify which countries.

DP World, which operates more than 60 terminals in six continents, said March 7 it made $249 million from asset sales in Australia, Europe and the Middle East. The company said it’s selling stakes in two container terminals and a logistics center in Hong Kong for $742 million as part of a reshuffle of assets in favor of fast-growing emerging markets.

The port operator posted a 21 percent jump in 2012 profit. Gross container volumes rose 2 percent to 56 million twenty-foot equivalent units during the year, while consolidated throughput increased 1 percent to 27 million TEUs. Growth came from the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and part of the Far East, bin Sulayem said. DP World didn’t’ see “that much growth still” in its European business, he said.

Uncertain Markets

For 2013, there are “uncertainties in the market,” including concerns about fuel and energy costs needed to run the operation, bin Sulayem said. “All I can only talk about are the first two months of this year, which we did exactly according to what we expected. The rest of the year, we have to see.”

DP World isn’t expanding into the U.S., the world’s largest economy, as the cost of investment in ports deters the company, bin Sulayem said. “So far, we haven’t seen a feasible project in the States for us. It is very expensive to invest in the U.S.”

The company is confident about the European economy, bin Sulayem said. “Europe is going to come back.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Francine Lacqua in London at flacqua@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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