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MSC Considering Controlling Stake in World’s Largest Cruise Port Operator

Bloomberg
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June 15, 2022

Responding to media reports, Global Ports has confirmed it has been approached by MSC with a potential cash offer for all shares of the cruise ports operator.

By Tommaso Ebhardt and Ercan Ersoy (Bloomberg) —

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA is considering taking a controlling stake in the world’s largest cruise port operator, Global Ports Holding Plc, according to people familiar with the matter.

The maritime container group has been holding exploratory talks over a deal for Global Ports, owned by Turkish businessman Mehmet Kutman, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.

Shares in London-listed Global Ports have fallen around a third in the last 12 months, giving it a market value of £53 million ($63 million). The company may look to pay down its debt pile, which stood at $435 million net at the end of March, after any deal with MSC, the people said.

Global Ports operates 26 cruise ports in 14 countries and has been recovering from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions. It returned to profit in the 12 months ended March 31.

Deliberations are ongoing and there’s no certainty they’ll result in an offer from MSC, according to the people. Representatives for Global Ports and Kutman’s Global Yatirim Holding AS declined to comment, while a spokesperson for MSC couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. 

Geneva-based MSC, owned by Italian billionaire Gianluigi Aponte, has been on an spending spree on the back of booming cargo demand during the pandemic. In April, it agreed to acquire African transport and logistics business of Bollore SA for 5.7 billion euros ($6 billion). It’s also planning to take a stake in ailing Italian ferry operator Moby SpA and bid with Deutsche Lufthansa AG to buy ITA Airways, the successor to failed carrier Alitalia.

–With assistance from Luca Casiraghi.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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