Source: Journal of Commerce
April 15th 2016
NEWARK, New Jersey – Deutsche Bank said it has reached an agreement to sell Maher Terminals, the 454-acre port terminal in Elizabeth, New Jersey, to a global infrastructure investment company, eight years after the German bank acquired it at the height of the pre-recession container import boom for $2.3 billion in 2007.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Through the deal, the terminal, which handles about 2 million twenty-foot-equivalent units a year, would be acquired by Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III, a fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, a global investment company with a portfolio of real estate, agriculture and energy holdings.
The bank, in a release announcing the deal Thursday, said the “sale marks another important step in Deutsche Bank’s commitment to the reduction of legacy assets.”
The announcement follows the sale by the bank in April 2015 of Maher’s Fairview Container Terminal in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, which handled 850,000 TEUs at that time. Dubai-based DP World, which at the time of the sale owned 65 terminals around the world, paid $457 million for the terminal.
The buyer declined to comment, and Deutsche Bank did not respond to a request for comment. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey also declined to comment on the deal.
The port authority, which owns the land under the terminal and leases it to Deutsche Bank, said Maher is the largest by size and volume of its six terminals in the New York harbor. Together they handled a record 6,371,720 loaded and empty TEUs in 2015, an increase of 10.4 percent from the 5.8 million TEUs handled in 2014.
The port is facing significant challenges in accommodating growth, and these difficulties are made worse by the heavier cargo surges that result from larger ships.
The port’s deepening to 50 feet will be complete in June following a delay due to Hurricane Sandy, and the Bayonne Bridge raising will be done by the end of 2017. At that point the coast will be clear for most of the largest ships in the world to call the port, putting pressure on the terminals and port authority to boost productivity. There is no chassis pool yet and appointment systems are in their infancy.
While container traffic has been increasing in recent years, the 2008 and 2009 recession cut into many terminals’ volumes, and the deal was one of several in which buyers paid what were considered high multiples for U.S. terminals.
Since the acquisition, the bank has reportedly written down the $1.1 billion in equity that backed it.
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets says it manages more than $100 billion of assets in more than 120 portfolio businesses, including 300 properties and 3.6 million hectares (8.9 million acres) of farmland.
The company has assets that handle 5 million containers a year. It operates Fraser Surrey Docks in Canada; Penn Terminals in Eddystone, Pennsylvania; Halterm Limited, which has a terminal in Halifax, Canada; and NYK Ports, which has terminals in North America.
Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets is also a partner with the port authority in the construction and financing of the new Goethals Bridge in Staten Island, New York.