The Abu Dhabi investment authority is to weigh the bid for the British port giant’s stake

By Dinesh Nair (Bloomberg) —

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is among parties considering an offer for a 34 percent stake in Associated British Ports, the UK’s largest port operator, according to people familiar with the matter.

Infrastructure investors Stonepeak Partners LP and Canadian British Columbia Investment Management Corp. are interested, among other things, in the stake that will be sold by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, it said. The stake could be estimated at around £2 billion ($2.4 billion) or more, they said.

ABP owns and is working 21 ports in England, Scotland and Wales and handles around a quarter of UK maritime trade and over £150 billion of UK trade annually. CPPIB bought its stake in the port group from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Prudential Plc for £1.6bn 2015.

Other ABP shareholders include Omers Infrastructure Management, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte and Wren House Infrastructure.

Consultations are at an early stage and there is no certainty that offers will be made, the people said, asking not to be identified when confidential information is discussed. Other interested parties, including existing shareholders, may also emerge, the people said.

Spokespersons for ADIA, British Columbia Investment Management and CPPIB declined to comment, while a Stonepeak representative did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Demand for infrastructure assets has remained resilient despite the general slowdown in global transaction activity as investors seek to add assets that can offer more stable and predictable returns to their portfolios.

In December, the Saudi Arabian Hassana Investment Co. agreed Invest $2.4 billion in three flagship developments by Dubai port operator DP World. The deal came about six months after $5 billion investment by Canada’s Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec in the Middle East’s largest port and two industrial estates.

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

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