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DP World volumes up, CEO silent on asset sales

Volume growth driven by Australia, America and Asia region; Firm sees return of volumes in Europe; Says does not need any further equity; Says on track for London listing

January 25, 2011 4:10 by

DP World, the world’s third-largest port operator, gave no clues on any new asset sale plans as it reported a rise in container shipping volumes for last year fuelled by growth in Asia, Australia and the Americas.

DP World, one of the more profitable units of debt-laden Dubai World  in December had sold 75 percent of its Australian port operations for $1.5 billion.

This was aimed at cutting debt and focusing on emerging markets.

Asked in a conference call on Tuesday if he expected any other sales this year, chief executive Mohammed Sharaf declined to comment.

Earlier this week, a senior executive said DP World was under no pressure from the Dubai government to sell assets to help repay debt.

The company said it handled 49.6 million twenty-foot equivalent container units (TEU) in 2010, up 14 percent.

Fourth-quarter volumes rose 9 percent, part of a record second-half performance.

“This excellent performance in the second half of the year will lead to a stronger financial performance and we expect to report full year financial results in line with expectations and well ahead of the prior year,” Sharaf said.

Sharaf also said there was no change to DP World’s plans to list in London in the second quarter.

The company said volume growth was fuelled by strong performance in Australia, America and Asia Pacific regions as well as the continuing return of volumes to the European region.

DP World added new terminals in China and Peru which became operational last year.

Sharaf said he agreed with analysts that the there would be 7 percent growth in the industry in 2012.

The chief financial officer Yuvraj Narayan said the company did not need any further equity and would have $3.8 billion in cash after closing the Australia deal.

“We don’t look at the Australia deal as a sale,” Sharaf said in the conference call. “We have brought in a strategic partner, who will be bringing more value to the business. We will be monetizing some of the assets we have… investing it in other parts of the world.”

By Praveen Menon

(Editing by Jane Merriman)

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