Hutchison Port Disposes of 60% Hong Kong Terminal Stake

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, sold 60 percent of a Hong Kong shipping terminal company for HK$2.47 billion ($318 million).

Hutchison Port will sell a 40 percent stake in Asia Container Terminals Holdings Ltd. to Cosco Pacific Ltd., according to a statement to the Singapore stock exchange yesterday. It will sell a 20 percent holding to China Shipping Terminal Development Co., it said.

The sale comes just a year after Hutchison Port had bought the terminal operator for HK$3.2 billion to expand its capacity in Hong Kong. Workers at another terminal operator owned by Hutchison Port went on a 40-day strike for more wages last May, leading some shipping lines to divert vessels to nearby ports in China.

Li’s Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., with interests in retail, ports and telecommunications, is expanding in Europe and North America while seeking to sell assets in Hong Kong and China, where long-term economic growth is slowing.

Last month, Hutchison said it plans an initial public offering this year for A.S. Watson & Co., selling about 25 percent of the division that has more than 10,000 retail stores worldwide.

For the port deal, Cosco Pacific said it will form a 50-50 venture with Hutchison Port Holdings, with the parties holding an 80 percent stake in Asia Container Terminals, according to a separate Hong Kong stock exchange filing yesterday.

China Shipping Terminal Development will hold its 20 percent stake in the container-terminal operator directly, according to the Cosco Pacific filing.

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