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Canada Pension Plan becomes owner of giant Ports America terminal operator

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to become the 100% owner of Ports America, North America’s largest marine terminal operator, through the acquisition of an interest from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. Financial details were not disclosed, though Bloomberg valued the deal at US$4 billion.

CPP Investments has been an existing minority investor in Ports America since 2014 and will continue to support the business with long-term capital and continuity of ownership as the Company deepens its focus on providing safe, secure and efficient service for all of its shipping line and beneficial cargo owner customers.

CPP Investments, which has over $400 billion of assets under management, also owns a 34% interest in Associated British Ports in addition to stakes in in utilities, toll roads and digital infrastructure providers in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Since its founding in 1921, Ports America has driven a century’s worth of innovation in stevedoring, cargo handling, and best-in-class terminal operations. Today, Ports America is the largest terminal operator in North America, with diversified operations across the country, including 70 locations in 33 ports, including Los Angeles and New York/New Jersey.

The Company annually handles 13.4 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), including 10 million tons of general cargo, 2.5 million vehicles and 1.7 million cruise ship passengers. Ports America employs a highly trained workforce with expertise in providing premium and flexible terminal operations and stevedoring services across these categories.

“Ports America represents the opportunity to continue to invest in a high-quality operator that plays an important role in global trade, making the Company a good fit for our long-term infrastructure investment strategy,” said Scott Lawrence, Managing Director, Head of Infrastructure, CPP Investments. “Terminal operators play a crucial role as cargo demand and transportation requirements continue to grow in response to the rapid and dynamic changes in how individuals and businesses are buying and selling products. Through further investment, Ports America can continue to meet these needs and we look forward to working with CEO Mark Montgomery and the management team to support the growth of the business in the upcoming years.”

“At Ports America, our commitment and ability to provide our customers with excellent, safe service and long-term, strategic value informs everything that we do,” said Mark Montgomery, Chief Executive Officer at Ports America. “Our partners at Oaktree and CPP Investments have always shared that commitment, and we look forward to continuing our work with the support of the CPP Investments team as they increase their ownership stake.”

The transaction is subject to satisfaction of certain closing conditions and regulatory requirements and is expected to close by the fourth quarter of 2021. (Photo Port of Los Angeles)