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Australian finance group expands its ports portfolio

Australian finance group expands its ports portfolio

Sydney: One of Australia's major financial conglomerates, the Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Group (BBI) is widening its port ownership portfolio and moving into  the east coast of the US, Europe and China with several new port acquisitions designed to give it global spread. Value of the acquisitions by BBI, a subsidiary of Australia's second biggest investment bank, Babcock & Brown Ltd, is put at around US$550m.

The first of these last month was a 50% share of ICS Logistics Inc, a well-established terminal operator at Talleyrand Marine Terminal in Jacksonville, Florida, which it considers a strategic US Southeast port.

In addition to the US expansion, BBI's majority owned subsidiary Benelux Port Holdings (BPH) has purchased Belgium's Westerlund Group, a well-known operator in forestry products shipping and dry bulk container traffic. The Westerlung foray gives the Australian group interests in the Belgium company's operations in China's Changshu (pictured) on the Yangtze river and in Rouen, France.

Meanwhile, in Germany BBI has moved on the foremost operator of the northern port of Rostock, Seehafen Rostock Umschlagsgesellchaft (SR).  [12/12/07]