HPH Trust sells 60% of Hong Kong terminal to 2 strategic partners for $403 million

Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPH Trust) is selling a 60 per cent stake in a Hong Kong terminal it bought a year ago for HK$2.47 billion (S$403.4 million).

HPH Trust will sell a 40 per cent interest in Asia Container Terminals Holdings (ACT Holdings) to Cosco Pacific and another 20 per cent stake to China Shipping Terminal Development (Hong Kong) Co, said the manager of the mainboard-listed trust in a Singapore Exchange filing on March 13.

The sale comes almost exactly a year after HPH Trust paid HK$3.17 billion for ACT Holdings, the holding company of Asia Container Terminals, the entity that owns and operates Container Terminal 8 West, located at Kwai Chung, Hong Kong.

This terminal is adjacent to HPH Trust's existing container terminals: Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) and Cosco-HIT Terminals (HK).

HPH Trust's manager noted in a statement that the entry of the new shareholders was an important and significant milestone for both HPH Trust and the Hong Kong container port industry as a whole.

Firstly, the sale yield a disposal gain of about HK$125 million for HPH Trust.

Secondly, it cemented a collaboration with both Cosco Pacific and China Shipping, by allowing all four berths located at the Cosco-HIT Terminals and the Asia Container Terminals to be operated as one contiguous 1,380 metre long berth.

This will enhance Hong Kong's position as a long term transshipment hub within the Pearl River Delta region and compensating for the stagnant growth in South China's transshipment and export volumes in 2013, it said.

Thirdly, it makes possible the servicing of multiple mega vessels at this contiguous berth simultaneously.

As a result, the operational flexibility, efficiencies, synergies, competitiveness, and profitability of all the relevant Hong Kong port operators are expected to be substantively bolstered.

HPH Trust units ended half a cent lower at 63.5 US cents.