Arcus renews charge for Forth Ports

The infrastructure investor has offered to take over the UK’s only listed ports operator for close to £746m, a £50m premium to Forth Ports’ stock market valuation on Friday. Forth Ports has allowed Arcus to conduct due dilligence on it.

Infrastructure investor Arcus Infrastructure Partners has submitted an indicative conditional bid for Forth Ports, the UK’s only listed ports operator, valuing the company at close to £746 million (€868 million; $1.2 billion), Forth Ports disclosed today.

The bid, tabled through Arcus’ European Infrastructure Fund 1, is offering the ports operator 1,630 pence a share for the 77.2 percent of the firm that Arcus doesn’t already own.  Arcus is offering a £50 million premium to Forth Ports’ Friday share price of 1,523 pence, valuing the operator at £697 million. The offer also includes a pledge to pay a 20 pence per share dividend in relation to 2010 prior to the completion of any bid, Forth Ports said. 

“On the basis of this indicative proposal, the board has agreed that Arcus can undertake certain confirmatory due diligence,” Forth Ports said in the statement.

This is not the first time Arcus has tried to acquire the ports operator. Last year, a consortium of Arcus, Peel Holdings and RREEF Infrastructure offered to buy Forth Ports for 1,400 pence per share, or £640 million. That offer was eventually dropped after Forth Ports said it fell short of the valuation placed on the business by its directors and invited the consortium to improve on it. It marked the third time the team tried to take over the ports operator.

Forth Ports, based in Edinburgh, owns and operates seven UK ports including Tilbury and Dundee.