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SIPG postpones Belgian port acquisition

SIPG postpones Belgian port acquisition

Shanghai: Shanghai International Port (Group) Co has postponed its stake purchase in a Belgium terminal from A.P. Moeller-Maersk Group  and expects slower container throughput growth this year as a slowdown hits global trade, a company executive told Reuters on Monday.
Shanghai port, China's biggest port operator, signed a framework agreement in September 2006 to buy 40 percent of a container terminal in Zeebrugge, which was built by APM Terminals, part of A.P. Moeller-Maersk. It marked SIPG's first overseas foray, having snaffled many stakes in its hinterland along the Yangtze river.
"We have decided to put the project on hold as the outlook in global container traffic is very different from two years ago," Jiang Haitao, the company's board secretary, told Reuters.
"But we have not shelved the project."
Jiang clarified a report by the China Securities Journal which said the Chinese port operator had completed the stake purchase in 2006 but was only delaying cooperation in running the terminal.
"It's not accurate. If we had bought the stake, we should have been jointly running the Belgium port already," he said.
Container throughput at Shanghai port is expected to grow to 29m teuin 2009, up 3.6 percent from a year earlier, slowing from a 7 percent increase in 2008, Jiang added.
Last year, the port's net profit jumped 26.9 percent to 4.62 billion yuan ($676 million) on a 13.8 percent rise in revenue.  [13/04/09]

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