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Robert.Jervis_43227 Feb 09

Peel sells major Ports stake

Peel sells major Ports stake image
Britain’s second largest ports operator has sold a major stake in the group to Australia’s biggest pension fund
Peel Ports Group, which is partially owned by John Whittaker, the billionaire property tycoon behind Manchester’s Trafford Centre, and Deutsche Bank investment arm DWS, has agreed to offload 25pc of shares to AustralianSuper.

The Melbourne-based investor manages over $180bn (£139bn) of members’ retirement savings and counts one in 10 Australian workers as members. The sale of a stake in Peel Ports also received interest from a number of other international funds as part of a process which was run by Rothschild and Linklaters.

Representatives for Peel Ports and DWS declined to comment.

AustralianSuper was not immediately available for comment.

Peel Ports reported revenues of £760m in 2019, up 6pc from the previous year, and pre-tax earnings of £257m. The company operates ports such as Liverpool, Clydeport and Medway, and carries 13pc of the UK’s maritime traffic through its waters.

A sale of the £4bn port group comes as Whittaker tries to wind down his Peel Holdings conglomerate, which manages British real estate and infrastructure assets worth more than £5bn.

He is also looking to raise as much as £1bn in an emergency rights issue for Intu Properties, in which he is the biggest investor.

Shares in the cash-strapped shopping centre landlord have collapsed in the wake of turmoil at high-street groups including Arcadia and Debenhams. Intu’s shares have fallen 88pc during the last 12 months.

Whittaker’s investment portfolio also includes Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, in which he sold a 35pc stake to fund manager ­Ancala Partners last year.

Source: Sunday Telegraph