Blackstone Group is among the parties that submitted a first round bid to acquire 50% of Maersk’s APM Terminals division, said two sources briefed on the situation.
As reported, global shipping magnate Maersk engaged Citi to explore strategic alternatives for its ports division. First round bids were due during the week of 6 May.
APM now comprises 74 terminals worldwide following the opening of three ports in Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, and Quetzal Guatemala and Izmir, Turkey. The new Latin American ports helped contribute to a 10.5% jump in revenues to USD 911m in 1Q18 from USD 824m year-over-year, according to a 1Q18 earnings presentation on Maersk’s website. The division’s EBITDA jumped to USD 196m from USD 139m during the same time period.
The division was impacted positively from new operating terminals, as well as additional volume increases, in in Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. That gain was partly offset by lower construction revenue in terminals under construction.
As reported, the Denmark-based company reorganized its business units in 2017 around its shipping-and-ports business unit after reaching a deal to sell its energy assets in 2H17. Maersk has previously said that ports have become highly capital intensive and revenue-challenged because of ongoing capacity increases in many ports, according to its annual report.
Blackstone declined comment on the situation. APM Terminals and Citi did not return calls seeking comment.
As reported, Blackstone is expected to reach first close on its Blackstone Infrastructure Partners LPfund during 2Q18. The open-ended fund has a commitment from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF), which agreed to match up to USD 20bn in third party investments.
The fund manager is hoping to raise USD 5bn in capital commitments for the fund, alongside another USD 2.5bn in separate accounts during its first fundraising round. The firm will hold the first fundraising round open for an additional nine months following first close, it is understood.