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            september 23, 2019

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China Merchants refinances Djibouti terminal


Hong Kong global port operator China Merchants Ports Holdings plans a US$144 million debt refinancing for a free-trade zone project in Djibouti, reports New York's FreightWaves.
The refinancing comes in the wake of a dispute between Djibouti and DP World, showing the risks awaiting companies as they look to developing markets for growth.
China Merchants has experiencd much of its growth in developing markets. Container volume at its China-based ports grew 4.5 per cent in 2018 to 88.4 million TEU) against 13 per cent growth to 20.66 million TEU in overseas operations.
China Merchants took a 23.5 per cent stake in Port de Djibouti (PDSA) in 2013 with the remaining stake owned by the Djibouti government, which also developed the Doraleh Multi-purpose Port (DMP), the country's first deep-water, multi-purpose port for $580 million, which opened in April 2017.
Before China's involvement, Dubai's DP World won a 30-year concession in 2009 to run Djibouti's Doraleh Container Terminal, co-owned with PDSA.
But Djibouti disputed terms with DP World, but a British high court found for the Dubai port operator, which prompted Djibouti to nationalise the terminal, seizing PDSA and DP World's equity in the facility, depriving it of operating funds.
But China Merchants raised a new loan, carrying a five per cent rate with a three-year term, which will pay back the original borrowing.

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