Colombo: Sri Lanka`s leading blue-chip conglomerate Aitken Spence has finalized the sale of its stake in the consortium Colombo International Container Terminals Limited (CICT), to the Chinese partner China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI).
In a stock market filing to the Colombo Stock Exchange, Aitken Spence said the company finalized the formalities to sell its 30 percent stake in the US$500 million port expansion project to the Hong Kong-based CMHI at approximately Rs. 630 million.
Aitken Spence said the sale was done on normal commercial terms which have been determined through arm`s length negotiations between the parties and they consider the sale is in the best interest of the Company and their shareholders.
CMHI, one of the largest port operators in the Asian region, in partnership with Aitken Spence, was the sole bidder for the US$ 450 million project when the bids were called in July 2009 to build the South Container Terminal under the Colombo South Port Expansion Project.
The CMHI was to have an ownership of 55 percent, Aitken Spence 30 percent and the SLPA 15 percent in the new terminal. The CMHI stake will increase to 85 percent following the pullout of Aitken Spence.
Earlier this month, Aitken Spence had negotiations with the CICT requesting approval to pull out of the deal due to high costs and unreasonable demands.
The project cost has reportedly escalated to an estimated US$ 600 million now from the original US$ 450 million.