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Ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge ‘in talks to merge’
Posted on Friday, 18 October 2019 13:23
The companies operating the Belgian ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge have entered talks over a potential merger of their businesses.

Reuters cited a joint statement issued by Port of Antwerp International and Zeebrugge Port Services, which said that after exploratory discussions dating back almost two years, the parties have opened discussions with a view to establishing how they could work together.

However, a combination is not likely to be imminent, with the firms saying that negotiations could take another two years.

In their statement, the port operators cited the findings of a report by Deloitte and Laga, which said little impact of the cooperation between the pair is evident at this time and that they would be better placed to respond to future challenges if they collaborated in a more far-reaching way.

No further details have been disclosed at this time.

Reports of a merger between the two companies date back to January 2018, when De Tijd said that the port of Zeebrugge could be acquired by its domestic peer, noting that they had initiated talks about a possible cooperation.

However, in August of that year, HLN stated that a deal might not be possible as the parties could not reach an agreement, citing Dirk De fauw, mayor of Bruges.

The Port of Antwerp is the second-largest port in Europe and the 17th-largest worldwide, according to WorldAtlas.

It handles around 209.00 million tonnes of cargo every year and can be accessed by ships of more than 100,000 tonnes.

The most valuable deal targeting a port and harbour operator to have been announced worldwide during 2019 to date is worth USD 2.95 billion and saw TNB Power Generation agree to acquire Malaysia-based Integrax, among other assets, according to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk.

In the year so far, Zephyr shows that companies in the sector have been targeted in 84 deals worth a combined USD 16.23 billion.

This is already higher than the value for the whole of 2018, when USD 11.15 billion was injected across 90 deals.

© Zephus Ltd