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Yilport Seeks Partner

Speaking to WorldCargo News at the TOC Europe 2014 event last week, Robert Yildirim, president of the Yildirim Group, said: “We are seeking a private placement for the shares and have started the process. Our preference is to sell 20% to 30% in Yilport to a single investor although we will consider more partners if that is necessary. And if the appetite is strong we will be prepared to sell more of the company, even up to 49%. But we will maintain control.”

He said that the company was committed to a global expansion programme and the proceeds from the placement would be used to support both acquisitions and capital investments in existing facilities.

Internationally, Yildirim said that Yilport was involved in the Oslo container terminal process, had declared an interest in the privatisation of the port of Thessaloniki in Greece, the sale of Montreal Gateway Terminal in Canada and had signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Cape Verde last August.

“In Cape Verde, we are moving forward with a feasibility study for the development of a US$500M, 1.5M TEU capacity, deepwater container terminal,” he said. “We are also talking and evaluating various opportunities elsewhere on the continent and in Latin America.”

But Asia appears to be of limited interest. “Frankly speaking I am not so excited about Asia,” he said. “To start with the competition is too intense and all of the interesting opportunities have been taken.”

Yildirim does, though, have a goal and that is for Yilport to be a “top 10” port operator by 2015, handling at least 15M TEU and 50 Mt of bulk/general cargo.

Currently, most of Yilport’s terminal operations are in Turkey with the company active in Gebze, Gemlik, Gemport and Rotaport (Yarimca). Its overseas interests comprise a 50% stake in Marsaxlokk (Malta Free Port) and an 80% stake in Gavle, Sweden.