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6 July, 2006 - 10:25 By Staff Reporter

Australian bank out of ports bidding to pave way for Goldman

Australian bank Macquarie has pulled out of the bidding for Associated British Ports – owner of Ipswich, Lowestoft and King’s Lynn ports in the East of England – leaving the way clear for the Goldman Sachs consortium to complete a £2.8 billion deal.Australian bank Macquarie has pulled out of the bidding for Associated British Ports – owner of Ipswich, Lowestoft and King’s Lynn ports in the East of England – leaving the way clear for the Goldman Sachs consortium to complete a £2.8 billion deal.

There remains a remote possibility that an 11th hour rival may emerge – but it is unlikely.

The US investment bank has had to move up the gears significantly since its initial offer worth £2.2bn in March.

Its bid equated to 910p a share – a premium over the price at the time of writing, which was 902p.

Macquarie’s bid was effectively torpedoed when venture capital group 3i withdrew from the consortium.

Goldman Sachs has reportedly said that it plans to retain ABP’s chief executive Bo Lerenius and is committed to the long-term ownership and continued development of the business.

All ABP’s East of England ports are thriving on a wave of continued investment.

ABP recently committed to invest £130,000 in the Port of Lowestoft on the back of a new five-year agreement with the Waveney Asphalt Com-pany Ltd to import a minimum of 40,000 tonnes of aggregates every year through the port.

The first call of the new service saw m.v. Swanland discharge 2,707 tonnes of limestone chippings and single-sized aggregates from Devon.

Both limestone chippings and aggregates are core ingredients in the production of bituminous road-paving material – the main component used in asphalt and macadam layering, which is Lowestoft-based Waveney Asphalt’s speciality.

ABP’s investment will see the removal of a steel-framed warehouse from the port’s North Quay Cargo Terminal and the installation of 10 segregated aggregates storage bays in its place.

With a combined holding capacity of 20,000 tonnes, the bays will house Waveney Asphalt’s shipments before delivery to their asphalt-coating plant in Ellough, Suffolk.

The plant itself was imported through the port late last year from Duisberg, Germany, aboard m.v. RMS Rhenus and m.v. RMS Setlark.

David Castleton, who is managing director of Waveney Asphalt, said: “As a Lowestoft-based company, we are very pleased to be able to import our raw materials through the port. This agreement means that we are able to continue delivering the best service to our customers.”

Alastair MacFarlane, port manager for ABP East Anglia, added: “ABP is glad to support the development of local businesses by investing in new port facilities on the back of long-term agreements.

“This new agreement between ABP and Waveney Asphalt is excellent news, not only for the Port of Lowestoft, but for the regional economy as a whole.”

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