COSCO Shipping Ports has bought APM Terminals’ (APMT) 76% majority stake in the existing APMT Zeebrugge container terminal for €35m (US$41m), giving it the full shareholding.
The purchase follows multiple key investments made by the Chinese state-owned terminal operator in Europe over the last few years including in Piraeus, Vado and Euromax Terminal Rotterdam.
As part of the transaction, APMT has proposed to buy back 25% of the Shanghai International Port Group’s (SIPG) shares and will then sell them together with its own 51% stake in Zeebrugge to COSCO.
The terminal has a 1m teu annual capacity and is in Belgium’s second-busiest container port.
According to a statement from APMT, COSCO Shipping and its alliance partners have become major customers of the port with a long term interest to grow port volumes.
APMT opened the Zeebrugge terminal in October 2006 and later sold a 24% share to COSCO in 2014.
Wim Lagaay, head of APMT’s USA and Europe portfolio, said: “Our decision to divest Zeebrugge reflects our portfolio strategy to focus on long term core assets.”
The transaction is expected to close by the end of November 2017 but is still subject to customer regulatory approvals, expected to take three to four months for completion.