BBI sells off Europort shares

BBI's Trilogiport venture - set to become operational in the summer of 2010

Troubled Australian bank Babcock & Brown  is continuing to sell off port businesses in an attempt to fill the holes in its books.

The latest deal to hit the shelves from its infrastructure group is a 29.7% share of its European ports interests, which will be going for around ¢121.5m ($159.8m). This move follows BBI's sale of a portion of its massive Dalrymple Bay coal operation in homeland Australia.

The co-investors are Antin Infrastructure Partners, who are buying a 19.9% stake, and Babcock & Brown European Infrastructure Fund (an unlisted fund of B&B's) who are purchasing a 9.8% stake of BBI Euroports. This places the total equity valuation of the Luxembourg-based group at ¢409.1m ($573m). However, after commitments, BBI will only receive around ¢35m for this share sale, and this is earmarked to repay a short-term debt.

Under the terms of the transaction, Antin IP and BBEIF have the right to pursue an increase in their holdings to 49% in total. This, says BBI, is in line with its intention of ultimately selling down to a residual holding of between 25% and 50% in the group, a strategy aimed at bringing in partners and keeping the group's value as a whole entity, rather than the selling off of individual port assets piecemeal.

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