DP World Selling Australian Biz for $1.5B

Ports operator DP World is planning to sell its Australian operations to private equity firm Citi Infrastructure Investors, Reuters reported. The deal, valued at roughly $1.5 billion, will help DP World reduce its debts. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011. DP World is a unit of Dubai World.

(Reuters) – Ports operator DP World will sell its Australian operations to private equity firm Citi Infrastructure Investors (CII) in a deal worth $1.5 billion as it seeks to reduce its debts, it said on Wednesday.

The deal is expected to be completed towards the end of the first quarter of 2011, the Dubai-based firm said in a statement to Nasdaq Dubai.

DP World — considered to be one of the more profitable units of debt-laden Dubai World [DBWLD.UL] — said the deal values DP World Australia at $1.82 billion.

“This transaction … will be earnings accretive for DP World from the time of completion,” Yuvraj Narayan, DP World chief financial officer, said in the statement.

Media reports earlier this year said DP World was considering an initial public offering for the Australian assets.

The ports operator, which was excluded from parent company Dubai World’s massive debt restructuring, had $8.04 billion in outstanding debt at the end of June 2010, according to a bond prospectus it updated in November.

DP World was advised by Deutsche Bank and Citigroup Global Markets while HSBC and UBS advised CII.

(Reporting by Jason Benham; Editing by Amran Abocar)