Yilport seeks majority control of Ports America

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Yilport seeks majority control of Ports America

Turkish terminal operator Yilport is bidding to buy a majority stake in Ports America in a move that would give the group a firm foothold in the US. The Istanbul-headquartered ports company is now in the second round of the sales process.

Yilport has been linked to Ports America for a few weeks, but until now it was thought that Highstar Capital was only interested in selling a minority stake in its US ports operation, initially said to be 23%. However, Yilport has made it clear he would not accept anything less than a 51% shareholding in Ports America, and could be willing to buy 100% control if the price were right.

Robert Yildirim, Yilport CEO, said.

“I want to be in the driving seat so that I can make all the necessary investments in terms of equipment, infrastructure, software and business relationships. In order to do that, I need to have majority control.”

No details of the financial discussions between Highstar and potential Ports America buyers have been released, although, according to sources, a valuation of well in excess of US$2 billion has been put on the group by its owner.

Yilport is thought to be the only industrial investor in the running, with the other bidders all believed to be financial institutions.

Originally, a deadline of late May had been set by Highstar for binding offers, but it is unclear whether that is still the case.

Ports America and Highstar have not yet replied to queries about whether a shareholding disposal in excess of 50% would be considered.

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