New bid in prospect for ABP Published: 15 June, 2006
YESTERDAY a consortium led by the investment bank Goldman Sachs launched a take-over move for ABP,the UK’s largest ports group which seemed to be acceptable.
But a new consortium led by the private equity group 3i and the Australian investment bank Macquarie have admitted they are considering a counter bid.
Any new offer would have to top the first bid said to be around £2.5bn agreed between ABP and a consortium led by Goldman Sachs yesterday morning.No new bid is assured, but representatives of 3i and Macquarie were expected to contact Bo Lerenius, ABP’s chief executive, last night to discuss the possibility.
Mr Lerenius said yesterday: “If someone were to offer more, we would have to look at it. You are working for your shareholders.”
The prospect of yet another bid battle will dismay Goldman, hard on the heels of the loss earlier this month of BAA, Britain’s biggest airports operator, to the Spanish construction group Ferrovial.
As reported on Fishupdate yesterday, the bids have aroused a lot of interest in Grimsby because ABP played a key strategic role in helping to draw up a £10-million plan to regenerate the fish docks, which proposes a new fish market, and fish processing and food park. ABP are landlords of the dock estate.
Although the plan has been stalled since it was first unveiled in January due to lack of movement by the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward, it is still very much on the cards and the Grimsby fishing industry is anxious to get things moving as soon as possible.
ABP owns nearby Immingham, which handles more fish than Grimsby, along with the strategically important Scottish fishing port of Troon and Hull, Fleetwood and Lowestoft.
When the dust has finally settled ,fishing leaders in all these ports will be anxious to find out if the new owners believe there is a future for their particular fish industries, especially Grimsby where the regeneration plan is vital to its long term future. Sme people fear that the new owners might break up the group and sell off the ports individually.
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