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DP World Targets Africa, Latin America Ports With Hong Kong Cash

March 20 (Bloomberg) -- DP World Ltd., the third-largest port operator, plans to use proceeds from disposals in Hong Kong to tap fast-expanding African and Latin American markets.

Among investments being evaluated is one in Ecuador, Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Sharaf said today at a press briefing in Dubai. DP World booked a $158 million gain from the disposal of one Hong Kong port and the sale of a stake in another.

“We always look for emerging markets,” Chairman Sultan bin Sulayem said, adding that the company favors the development of completely new or semi-prime locations. Site openings in 2013 included the Embraport complex in Santos, southern Brazil.

DP World, where net income excluding items grew 11 percent last year to $604 million, has built on Dubai’s status as a Persian Gulf trade hub to expand into markets from Peru to Australia, aided by a $3.7 billion annual spending budget.

The $2.4 billion London Gateway port, which opened in 2013, should reach a capacity of 1.6 million standard 20-foot containers or TEUs within three years, Sharaf said.

Cargo throughput across the group slipped 3.8 percent to 26.1 million TEUs last year, with sales 1.5 percent lower at $3.07 billion. Volumes should resume growth in 2014, aided by an improving global economy and new capacity in locations including Rotterdam and Dubai’s own Jebel Ali port, DP World said.

The United Arab Emirates company pay a dividend of 23 cents a share, from 21 cents a year ago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Deena Kamel Yousef in Dubai at dhussein1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net Anthony DiPaola, Christopher Jasper

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