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Business news, 27.10.2005 16:25

Hutchison Port Holdings Aims at Stakes in 2 Western Russian Terminals

investment_hutchison Hutchison Port Holdings is close to finalizing its first terminal investments in Russia, with a $150-million deal in early December with the National Container Company, Lloyds List reported.

Under the terms of the pact, a unit of Hong Kong-based trading giant Hutchison Whampoa, HPH would take a 50-percent stake in St. Petersburg’s First Container Terminal and a 37-percent interest in the Baltic Container Terminal, a facility being built at Ust-Luga, about 110 km south-west of St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland.

National Container’s two major shareholders Severstaltrans and First Quantum will each reportedly sell 25 percent of their stakes in St. Peterburg’s First Container Terminal to Hutchison Port Holdings. National Container will also sell a 37-percent stake in the Ust-Luga terminal.

First Container Terminal handled 524,987 teu in the first nine months of this year, up from 531,231 teu for the whole of 2004 at its five berths. The terminal also has 19 straddle carriers, two rubber tyred gantry cranes and other equipment plus storage for 16,000 teu and 1,500 reefer units.

The $167-million first stage of the Ust-Luga terminal is due to become operational in 2007 when it will have a planned throughput of up to 900,000 teu a year. A further three stages are planned which will boost handling capacity to 3.3 million teu.

National Container initially took a 74-percent stake in the Ust-Luga terminal in December 2002, with the balance held by the local port company, as part of a 49-year concession agreement.

German terminal operator Eurogate took a 26-percent interest after agreeing to co-operate with National Container on the construction and development of the terminal in May 2003.

The Russian government has agreed to finance about $60 million of the total cost of the first stage which is earmarked for dredging of a 4.5-kilometer approach channel and marine construction including land reclamation and quay wall construction.

The remaining $107 million is coming from the private sector and will be used to finance the development of other terminal infrastructure including warehouses, port buildings and equipment.

The approach to Ust-Luga, which will initially have a depth alongside of 14.5 meters although this will be deepened to 16 meters, will be navigable 326 days a year without the use of icebreakers.

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