MSC seeks majority stake in world’s largest cruise port operator, Global Ports, which operates 26 cruise ports in 14 countries.
MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co. SA is considering acquiring a majority stake in the world’s largest cruise port operator, Global Ports Holding Plc, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Swiss shipping company has been holding exploratory talks on a deal for Global Ports, owned by Turkish businessman Mehmet Kutman, sources at Bloomberg say, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.
Shares of London-listed Global Ports have fallen about 29% in the last 12 months, giving it a market value of £56 million ($68 million). The company may be looking to pay down its debt, which stood at $435 million net at the end of March, after any deal with MSC, the sources said.
Kutman’s Global Yatirim Holding AS rose as much as 9.9% in Istanbul on Wednesday, giving it a market value of 2.3 billion Turkish liras ($133 million).
Global Ports operates 26 cruise ports in 14 countries and has been recovering from the impact of travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It turned a profit again in the 12 months ending March 31.
Deliberations are ongoing and there is no certainty that they will result in an offer from MSC, according to the people. Representatives for Global Ports and Global Yatirim declined to comment, while an MSC spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Geneva-based MSC, owned by Italian billionaire Gianluigi Aponte, has been spending big as cargo demand boomed during the pandemic. In April, it agreed to acquire Bollore SA’s African transport and logistics business for 5.7 billion euros ($6 billion). It also plans to take a stake in Italian ferry operator Moby SpA and bid with Deutsche Lufthansa AG to buy ITA Airways, the successor to failed airline Alitalia.