Dubai Ports World – the United Arab Emirates-owned company at the center of a national security controversy earlier this year – has not yet kept its promise to sell its operations in the U.S. to an American company.
No announcements have been made by DP World identifying potential purchasers, and the company’s spokesmen have no comment when pressed for details of any divestiture transactions that may be under consideration.
In March, with Congress moving to overrule the White House, DP World announced it would give up its management stake in a deal to operate some of the terminals at U.S. ports and transfer it to an American entity.
On March 9, Sen. John Warner, R-Va., announced on the Senate Floor that the divestiture would proceed in an “orderly fashion” so as not to suffer “economic loss.”
On March 15, a publicist for DP World’s U.S. subsidiary P&O Ports of North America, Christy Moran, indicated the firm would be operated separately from DP World in accordance with the agreement announced to Congress.
However, Moran told WND Friday the divestiture had not yet taken place.
“DP World is still on track with the March 15 announcement that it would take four to six months to complete the sales process,” she said.
WND asked Moran about press speculation that DP World would not sell the U.S. ports operations of P&O but would form a separate subsidiary and continue to own the U.S. operations.
“There are many options on the table,” Moran said, “but that is just pure speculation.”
When pressed if the option to form a subsidiary was still on the table, Moran responded, “There’s no comment on that.”
WND also asked Moran if DP World would sell the units at a loss if that were the only viable option within the six-month time period, ending in mid-September.
“DP World still feels the U.S. ports operation is an attractive business,” Moran answered, “and the number of parties that have already expressed interest is significant.”
Moran stressed DP World continues to believe the company will receive a good offer and the U.S. ports operation will be sold in the time frame required.
Moran refused to reveal any of the companies that might bid, though she said there was interest from a broad range of U.S. buyers.
On March 10, DP World chairman Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem told the Gulf Times that as many as 100 companies have expressed an interest in buying the U.S. ports operations business.
“There are bids from everywhere, we are analyzing them,” he asserted, although he declined to name the firms supposedly making these bids. The U.S. ports operations of the P&O assets are estimated to be worth $700 million.
In recent interviews, Mohammed Sharaf, the director-general of DP World characterized the congressional upset over the purchase of P&O as a “temporary setback.”
Without specifying why he believes new legislation in the U.S. Congress will change the situation, Sharaf remains confident DP World will operate in the U.S.
“Once the process is changed and new legislation comes in, then we are ready to go back,” he told Agence France-Presse last month. “It all depends on the Americans, what sort of legislation they come up with. … This is the world’s largest economy. How can you just ignore it?”
Jerome R. Corsi received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science in 1972 and has written many books and articles, including co-authoring with John O’Neill the No. 1 New York Times best-seller, “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry.” Dr. Corsi’s most recent books include “Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil,” which he co-authored with WND columnist Craig. R. Smith, and “Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians.”