Cosco Pacific starts a series of roadshow presentations to investors this week ahead of a planned issue of U.S. dollar notes, fuelling speculation the Chinese container terminal operator is set to bid for a majority stake in the Greek port of Piraeus.
Proceeds from the share issue, whose size is yet to be decided, will be used to fund the expansion of the Hong Kong-based firm’s container terminals and container leasing business, pay down debt and for general corporate purposes.
The announcement of the note issuance coincides with media reports in Greece that Cosco Pacific plans to invest up to $1.3 billion for a 60 percent stake in Piraeus, Greece’s largest port.
Cosco Pacific is the leading container handler in the port, having paid around $5.5 billion for a 35-year management concession for Piers 2 and 3, which it has been operating since June 2010.
The Greek government is planning to privatize Piraeus and Thessaloniki, the country’s second-largest port, as part of a program of state asset sales under the terms of a bailout deal with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras last week said Cosco Pacific had “shown an interest” in boosting its investment in Pireaus, but he did not provide details.