Chinese port group acquires major stake in Port of Newcastle

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China Merchants Port (CMPort) has entered into an agreement to purchase a 50 per cent interest in the Port of Newcastle, New South Wales, from China Merchants Union and Gold Newcastle Property .

The remaining 50 per cent interest in Port of Newcastle is held by TIF Investment Trust, an independent third party.

The deal went through for over $600 million.

The acquisition of Port of Newcastle is CMPort’s first step in its bid to invest in Oceania.

“Given the unique position of the Port of Newcastle with precincts containing land resources, the acquisition will bring opportunities for the Company to further achieve its ‘Port and Park’ development under ‘Port-Park-City’ model,” the company said in a statement. Through this, the company seeks to operate its core port businesses alongside park development and infrastructure support, “thereby achieving a port-centred ecosystem with port operations as its core.”

In its statement, CMPort noted that it believes the price of the acquisition was fair and reasonable.

The Port of Newcastle is the largest port on Australia’s east coast, and a significant coal-export port.

In 2016, it handled bulk cargo volume of 167 million tonnes, of which coal export made up 161 million tonnes, approximately 40 per cent of Australia’s coal export

The Port of Newcastle has a total land area of 792 hectares, including approximately 200 hectares of vacant port land available for further development. In September 2016, the New South Wales Government committed $12.7 million towards a permanent multi-purpose cruise terminal facility at the Port of Newcastle, which will begin construction in 2018.