MSC Ends Takeover Talks for Cruise Port Operator Global Ports Holdings

cruise port operator
Cruise ships docked at Antigua in the Caribbean before the pandemic (file photo)

Published Jul 12, 2022 8:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

Takeover talks between Mediterranean Shipping Company and Global Ports Holding have been terminated. The operator primarily of cruise ports around the world as well as some container terminals announced today that it has been notified by MSC that the shipping company’s shipping services company does not intend to make an offer for GHP.

A month ago, GHP announced that its majority shareholder, Global Yatirim Holding, had been approached by SAS Shipping Agencies Services Sarl, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company Holdings about making a potential cash offer to acquire GHP. At the time, the company said discussions were ongoing between the companies. Under rules governing the process, MSC had till July 13 to “either announce a firm intention to make an offer,” or to announce that they did not intend to make an offer for GPH. The deadline, however, could have been extended with the consent of the takeover panel.

Commenting on their plans for GHP now that the talks have been concluded, Mehmet Kutman, Co-Founder, CEO and Chairman of GPH said, “The board is wholly committed to the successful execution of our long-term strategy to grow the business and create value for all shareholders while providing industry-leading investment and service levels at our cruise ports for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

GPH intends to continue its strategic direction as an independent port operator with open access cruise port concessions and arm’s length treatment of berthing rights for all its customers. The GPH board said it is focused on the delivery of its strategic goals and long-term value creation, which reflects the strength of GPH and its growing network of cruise ports.

Similar to other cruise-related businesses, Global Ports reported that it was greatly impacted by the nearly two-year suspension of many cruise operations during the pandemic and due to the ongoing impact on the industry. Only recently have most of the cruise lines been able to restart nearly all of their ships, but even still passenger counts remain down compared to before the pandemic. The company used the time during the suspension in the global cruise industry to continue to enhance its portfolio but also reported that it was in refinancing discussions with its bondholders.

The company reported yesterday that it has grown the total number of cruise ports it operates to 22 across the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Atlantic, Asia, and Northern European cruise regions. Their latest agreement forms a joint venture with the company’s local partner Sepcan S.L. and has agreed to the terms of a 40-year concession agreement to operate Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Cruise Port, Canary Islands, Spain. GHP will hold 80 percent of the JV company and has agreed to invest approximately €40 million into constructing a new cruise terminal in Las Palmas and modular terminal facilities in Arrecife and Fuerteventura.

Management continues to believe that strong opportunities exist as an independent port operator. The company looks to use its portfolio enhancements along with its strong position with key ports to benefit as the cruise industry continues its recovery and resumes its long-term growth.