P&O confident of takeover

Ports and ferries group P&O today said it was confident its multi-billion pound takeover by Dubai Ports World would go ahead despite growing opposition in the United States.

P&O insisted it had cleared all the correct regulatory channels after a partner in Miami filed a lawsuit to block the £3.9bn (€5.7bn) deal with state-owned DP World.

The legal action by Eller & Company subsidiary Continental Stevedoring & Terminals comes amid a growing political storm in Washington over concerns that the deal could compromise national security.

Senators including Hillary Clinton have called for the deal to be blocked because it would place control of key ports such as Miami, New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans and Philadelphia in the hands of a foreign government.

And Peter King, chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, claimed there were too few safeguards in the deal to combat terrorist infiltration. He added that the terms for approving the transfer of control to the United Arab Emirates were not strict enough.

Eller added to the opposition on Friday night when it filed for $10m (€8.4m) in damages, claiming it was not consulted about the deal and will therefore become an involuntary partner with DP World.

But P&O is understood to be confident that the lawsuit will not affect the deal, which was voted through last week by shareholders who will receive their cash by March 16.

It has also been approved by the Department of Homeland Security.

A P&O spokeswoman said: “Clearly, a change of control was a key focus for the due diligence process and we are confident all issues have been satisfactorily addressed.”

Michael Seymour, president of the North American arm of P&O, said the company was aware of the lawsuit which was filed in a Florida court on Friday but had not had time to review it.

He pointed out that P&O was “itself a foreign-owned terminal operator that has long worked with US government officials in charge of security at the ports to meet all US government standards” and added that other foreign companies also operated ports in the US.

Mr Seymour said: “We are confident that the DP World purchase will ensure that our operations continue to meet all relevant standards in the US through ongoing collaboration between the port operators and American, British, Australian and port security officials throughout the world.”

More in this Section

Credit Unions to introduce current accounts with contactless debit cardsCredit Unions to introduce current accounts with contactless debit cards

Shares soar for online retailerShares soar for online retailer

Credit unions hail start of rollout of current accountsCredit unions hail start of rollout of current accounts

US Democrats debate ways to cut back big techUS Democrats debate ways to cut back big tech


We had our first filling last weekend.Learner Dad: As long as other people gave their kids more sugar than we gave ours, we assumed we didn’t have a problem

Experts on bedroom style reveal their top tips to Gabrielle Fagan, so you can create your perfect sleeping space.Let’s go to bed: How to create the cosy winter retreat you’ve always dreamed of

Sink your teeth into our top tips for Halloween dental care.Dental shock: Save your child's teeth from the ‘horrors’ of Halloween

More From The Irish Examiner