Yesterday, Aussie bank Macquarie and its consortium rolled over, leaving Goldman Sachs a clear run. Last week, the world’s largest securities firm offered £2.8bn for Associated British Ports, and it was just too much for the consortium from down under.

The British ports company owns 21 ports across the land, including in Ipswich, Southampton, Hull and Swansea. Like its peers in the industry, the company is doing very nicely at the moment. Over the last five years profits have doubled to just £100,000 short of a cool £100mn.

Recently Peninsular Oriental was bought by Dubai DP for £6.8bn while the UK’s Mersey Docks and PD Ports was bought out in December last year.

Associated has recently signed a lucrative deal with Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd.

As for Goldman, still smarting from its failure to scoop BAA, shares rose last night. It might have lost the battle for control of the air, but at least it’s got a foothold in the great sea battle which is raging. With world trade increasing every year, ports are big business again.

Macquarie Drops AB Ports Bid, Clears Way for Goldman Bloomberg

© Investment & Business News 2013