Dubai sells minority stake in flagship port, business park to Canadian fund

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Dubai will sell a minority stake in its flagship port and two adjacent business parks to a Canadian pension fund, helping the state operator of the facilities to massively cut its own debt.

Canada’s Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec will take a 22% stake through a new joint venture with DP World in which it will invest $5 billion in the three facilities, DP World said.

CDPQ will invest $2.5 billion in Jebel Ali, which is the Middle East’s largest transhipment port, and the business parks, DP World said. CDPQ will finance the rest through debt.

The transaction implies a total enterprise value of $23 billion for the three assets, which also include Jebel Ali Free Zone and National Industries Park.

Other long-term investors could also take a stake for up to $3 billion, DP World said.

DP World Chairman and Chief Executive Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said the deal with CDPQ would achieve DP World’s target of reducing net leverage to below 4x net debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

DP World, one of the world’s biggest port operators, took on $8.1 billion of debt in 2020 to finance Dubai’s buyout of minority shareholders to return the company to full state ownership.

(Writing by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Mark Porter)