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Chinese Port Operators Acquire Stake in Taiwan Terminal

Chinese port operators agreed to buy a $135 million stake in a Taiwanese container terminal, the second-biggest mainland acquisition on the island, as closer cross-strait ties spur trade volumes.

China Merchants Holdings International Ltd., Cosco Pacific Ltd. and China Shipping Group Co. will each buy 10 percent of the terminal in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s biggest port, according to a statement yesterday. Taiwanese shipping line Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. will remain the largest shareholder following the transaction, which still needs regulatory approvals.

Talks on the deal began at least three years ago as Taiwan eased restrictions on mainland investments amid warmer ties. China Mobile Ltd. bought a NT$17.8 billion ($613 million) stake in mobile phone operator Far EasTone Telecommunications Co. two years ago in the largest mainland-Taiwan acquisition, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The first phase of the Kao Ming terminal opened January, 2011, according to the statement. The facility handled 1.08 million containers in its first year, compared with a 1.4 million design capacity. Two more berths, which will double the terminal’s capacity, are due to open in 2014. The terminal is the only facility at Kaohsiung able to handle vessels with a capacity of more than 14,000 containers.

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