DP World, Canada Fund Plan $4.5 Billion of Port Investments

(Bloomberg) — DP World and Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec are nearing an agreement to invest an additional $4.5 billion in their global portfolio of port terminals, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Dubai-based ports operator and Canadian pension fund manager could announce the injection of the funds into their existing venture as early as this week, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private.

DP World and the Caisse agreed in 2016 to set up a platform for investing in ports around the world. An initial investment target of $3.7 billion has been hit, the people said, with the portfolio holding ports across North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific.

The fresh capital will be used to develop existing locations and expand into new geographies, including Europe, as well as sectors such as logistics services, the people said. It will take the total amount committed to the venture, which is 55% owned by DP World, to $8.2 billion since inception.

Representatives for DP World and the Caisse declined to comment.

DP World is one of the world’s largest operators of marine ports and inland cargo terminals, stretching from gateways in London and Antwerp to hubs in Africa, Russia, India and the Americas. The company has been on an acquisition spree in recent years, buying assets from P&O Ferries and P&O Ferrymasters in Europe to Puertos y Logistica in Chile.

In February, Dubai said it would take DP World private after a dozen years to alleviate its debt burden and avoid a repeat of the economic crisis that forced a bailout in 2009.

As a pensions investor, the Caisse is attracted to infrastructure assets that offer steady, long-term returns. The group managed assets of C$333 billion ($255 billion) as of the end of June. At present, investments outside Canada and the U.S. account for a third of its portfolio, according to its website.

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