Agency approves Maher Terminals sale PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 16 June 2007

By Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer

TRENTON, N.J. — Family-owned Maher Terminals LLC, the state's biggest shipping terminal, has won approval from a bistate agency for its planned sale to a Deutsche Bank unit.

The deal marks the third time this year that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved a lease transfer for one of the marine terminals it operates, authority spokesman Steven Sigmund said Friday.

Maher Terminals is headquartered in Berkeley Heights, N.J.

"What we're really talking about here is a trend toward private equity owners taking over terminal operations," Sigmund said.

As part of the transfer of long-term leases for those terminals, the Port Authority has been getting the new buyer or operator to commit millions of dollars to improve the facilities, Sigmund noted.

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He said the three transactions have netted $50 million in cash that the Port Authority can reinvest in the port and almost $200 million in capital investment guarantees from the new owners. For instance, Maher Terminals is paying $22 million to the Port Authority out of its revenue from the sale.

In the latest deal, which closed Thursday, Maher sold its terminal in Elizabeth to Deutsche Asset Management's RREEF Infrastructure, which agreed to invest a minimum of $114 million on capital improvements to the 600-acre facility. The sale price for the terminal was not disclosed.

RREEF will take over the remaining 23 years on the terminal's lease with the Port Authority.

"As we understand it, the same people are going to be operating the terminal, which is important to us" because of their experience and prior security clearance, Sigmund said.

Deutsche Bank said in a statement that the terminal would keep its name and current management team, with M. Brian Maher staying on as chairman and chief executive.

The Port Authority operates three terminals in New Jersey, in Newark and Elizabeth, as well as two in New York. The New York terminals are on Staten Island and in Brooklyn.

One of the prior deals involved the Port Newark Container Terminal, one of six terminals caught up in a furor last year when the Bush administration approved United Arab Emirates-based Dubai Ports World's purchase of terminals at major ports from a British company.

In February, the Port Authority reached an agreement to allow AIG Global Investments Group to acquire an interest in the Port Newark Container Terminal from Dubai Ports World, which also sold its five other U.S. terminals to AIG.

In May, the Port Authority wrapped up a deal for the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan to buy the Howland Hook Marine Terminal, on Staten Island, from Orient Oversees International Ltd., according to the agency.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 19 July 2007 )
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