The Hambantota port operator, China Merchants Port Holdings (CMPort), saw 23.5 percent of its shares acquired by Fujian Transportation Maritime Silk Road Investment and Management, a share transfer that took place via an online signing ceremony earlier this week.
The share transfer deed was signed between CMPort, Fujian Provincial Communication Transportation Group and Fujian Transportation Maritime Silk Road Investment and Management.
The shares of CMPort, which holds 85 percent of the Hambantota port, were acquired by Fujian Transportation Maritime Silk Road Investment and Management for US $ 268 million, with Fujian Provincial Communication Transportation Group as the guarantor.
CMPort said that it would “strive to maintain” the management control of the Hambantota port while reducing its share ratio by introducing strategic investors to optimise its assets and corporate governance structure.
“Through the injection of domestic and overseas resources of the parties, the partnership will not only be conducive to the long-term sustainable development of the port but also conducive to the sustainable appreciation of the port as an asset,” CMPort said.
According to China Merchant Group Executive Vice President Deng Renjie, the cooperation will help integrate resources, complement the advantages of both companies and invest overseas as a group.
He added that the injection of new impetus will speed up the construction of Hambantota as South Asia’s shipping centre.
“I hope both sides will give full play to their respective advantages, seize the opportunity of digital transformation of port and shipping industry and domestic industrial transfer to explore the cooperation of port business at home and abroad, fasten the injection of advantageous industries in the industrial park of the Hambantota port, further expand the breadth and depth of the cooperation, together we push forward the promotion of ‘Belt and Road’ to a higher quality direction,” said Renjie during the signing ceremony.
Fujian Transportation Maritime Silk Road Investment and Management Chairman Li Xinghu expressed that the entity will take this cooperation as an opportunity to deepen the cooperation between the Hambantota port and Fujian ports as well as shipping enterprises.
“We will also expand the business location and enhance the brand influence of ‘Silk Road shipping’. At the same time, we will also strive to attract and encourage Fujian enterprises to participate in the construction of the Hambantota port and strive to make the Hambantota port a home base for Fujian enterprises to enter the South Asia and overseas markets,” Xinghu said.
CMPort said that since it started to operate the Hambantota port in 2017, it has successively introduced oil and gas business, cement loading and unloading and maritime service to the port.