Greenore Port is on a rising tide but will takeover talks sink or swim?

There’s clearly no rush in sale of Louth facility

Dublin Port Company  said  its total throughput reached 23.1 million tonnes. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Dublin Port Company said its total throughput reached 23.1 million tonnes. Photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

 

Trade through Dublin Port is always a good barometer of how the economy is doing. The Dublin Port Company (DPC) said on Thursday its total throughput reached 23.1 million tonnes.

This was almost as much as at the peak of the boom in 2007 when activity reached 23.6 million tonnes.

Next year Dublin Port predicts a record-breaking year as the economy continues to grow.

Nearby Greenore Port in Co Louth is also on an upward trajectory as it gains from the economic upturn.

Its financial performance, diminished by the bust, is now improving.

This leads Cantillon to wonder when potential takeover talks between Burke Shipping Group, the principal operating subsidiary of the family owned Doyle Group, and the owners of the port will ever end.

Burke Shipping first emerged as the frontrunner to acquire the port, which is owned by the DPC and One51, on August 12th. Some 59 days later and the sale of the port still has not been concluded.

What is delaying the sale? Buying Greenore is certainly not a deal that could be done overnight. The port requires additional investment and there are lots of things to consider when doing due diligence on an asset recognised by An Bord Pleanála as one of our “critical infrastructure assets”.

But it is not that large a deal for a company as well established as Burke Shipping Group, which employs 300 people and has offices in all major Irish ports.

Burke is owned by Connor and Frank Doyle, whose grandfather founded the original company DF Doyle Stevedoring in 1886.

With heritage like that it is clearly not in a rush . . . but all things have to end one way or the other. Under-bidders for the port may yet refloat to the surface.

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