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Mon 8 Oct 2007 04:00 PM

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DP World extends reach into Africa

State-owned ports operator signs 25-year deal to develop and operate Dakar port, plans to invest $641mn.

Dubai's government-owned ports operator DP World signed a 25-year concession to develop and operate Dakar port and plans to invest at least 455 million euros ($641 million) there, its chairman said on Monday.

"We expect at the first stage to invest 120 million euros [and] for the port of the future, an additional 335 million euros," Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told reporters, referring to plans to build a new shipping terminal near the Senegalese capital.

The Arab company has said it aims to double the handling capacity of the existing terminal to 550,000 units per year by 2010. The second terminal will have a capacity of 1.5 million containers per year and should be ready by 2011.

"This port is going to be state of the art," Sulayem said after signing the concession with Dakar port director Bara Sady. "I hope in the near future this port is going to be one of the most important in West Africa."

Sources familiar with the situation have told Reuters in recent weeks that DP World plans to float a stake of around 20% on the Dubai stock market this year to finance future expansion, pending government approval.

One source said the planned initial public offering (IPO) would aim to raise as much as $4.2 billion, making it the largest in the Middle East, topping the $4.1 billion raised by Saudi Telecom in 2003.

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