MetLife backs UK port operator

The US insurance giant is supporting Forth Ports in the form of $184m in long-term financing.

MetLife, the New York Stock Exchange-listed insurer, has provided $184 million in long-term financing for Forth Ports, the privately owned UK port operator.

The transaction, which also involves several MetLife clients, comprises an £80 million ($128 million) fixed-rate note with an 18-year maturity and a £35 million ($56 million) floating-rate note, also with an 18-year maturity.

“We were uniquely able to meet the company’s maturity targets, pounds sterling currency preference, and desire for floating-rate notes,” said Scott Inglis, managing director of private securities for MetLife, in a statement.

The financing “fits well with our strategy of investing for the long term to meet policyholder obligations and providing attractive returns for shareholders,” added John Tanyeri, MetLife’s London-based managing director of infrastructure finance.

Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Forth Ports was acquired by London-headquartered fund manager Arcus Infrastructure Partners in a £760 million deal in March 2011. It is a freehold owner and operator of seven ports around the Firth of Forth, the main sea highway for the east of Scotland. It also owns Port of Tilbury, the closest port to the city of London.

In April last year, MetLife’s Private Capital Investors unit acquired a minority stake in Agility Trains West, a Hitachi Rail Europe/John Laing Investments consortium delivering the first stage of the UK Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme for the delivery of new trains, depots and route upgrades on key rail routes.