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Port Of Dover Considering Privatization

by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com, London

21 April 2009


The Port of Dover is further investigating the option of privatization in a bid to fund its latest expansion plans.

Officials at the largest publicly-owned port in the UK are considering whether or not to bring in a private investor to help fund the construction of a second ferry terminal.

The port - which is the busiest in Europe and thought to be worth around GBP250m (USD364m) - is currently receiving financial advice from experts NM Rothschild and PricewaterhouseCoopers, who are assessing every possible financial option.

Dover's financial director, Tim Waggott, announced that whilst privatization is likely, it is not necessarily favoured. Waggott explained that alternative options to privatization are being considered - one of which could see funding for the GBP400m (USD582m) scheme raised from debt.

However, under the Department for Transport's regime for Britain's major trust ports, privatization could be the only option. As Dover is one of the 7 trust ports, it will be covered by the 1991 Ports Act - a measure implemented by the government which can force any port covered by the legislation to privatize if necessary.

Mr Waggott's remarks came in light of the news that the port's pre-tax profits for 2008 were down a fraction on those from the same period in 2007, reflecting a decline in asset sales.


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