Britain’s seaports continue to draw the interest of state-owned investors and Associated British Ports (ABP) could see Canadians pass ownership to Arabs if Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) launches a bid for a 33.9% stake.
According to Bloomberg, ADIA up against Stonepeak Partners LP and Canada’s British Columbia Investment Management in the bidding for the stake owned by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), which is valued at approximately GBP2 billion (US$2.42 billion). Other shareholders in ABP are Canadian public pension fund OMERS (30%), Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC (20%), Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) infrastructure subsidiary Wren House (10%), and Hermes Infrastructure (6.1%).
ABP controls 21 British sea ports and contributes an estimated GBP7.5 billion to the UK economy every year. Its ports include Immingham, the UK’s largest port by tonnage, and Southampton, the UK’s biggest vehicle handling port and Europe’s biggest cruise turnaround port. ABP also provides over 50% of operations and maintenance for the country’s offshore wind activity.
Another British port operator with significant SOI investment is Forth Ports, which is owned by Canadian public pension fund PSP Investments and its Australian peers Aware Super and Cbus Super Fund as well as GLIL, a joint venture of the UK’s Local Pensions Partnership (LPP) and the pension funds of Merseyside and West Yorkshire. Forth Ports includes the Ports of Tilbury, Grangemouth and Dundee.
Additionally, in 2022 APG, Global infrastructure Partners (GIP) and AustralianSuper acquired a 37.4% holding in Peel Ports Group from DWS. Peel Ports is responsible for the operations and management of a network of seven strategically located ports around the UK and Ireland. It includes Liverpool's L2 container terminal, the UK's only Northern deep-sea gateway.
The UK is set to see significant investment in port infrastructure over the coming decade focusing on expanding port capacity at several of the country’s largest ports, to be able to meet growing demand. This will be a key focus of post-Brexit UK as the country looks to reduce its dependence on the EU bloc. As such, free trade agreements will be a central aspect of asset value growth for investors in sea port infrastructure.