Oman's Salalah Port Services (SPS) is offering 5.16 million shares in a rights issue between January 25 and February 8 to finance an expansion drive in the container port it operates, a newspaper reported Saturday.
Oman Observer said the issue would raise the operator's capital from 12.9 million rials ($33.15 million) to 18.06 million rials ($46.4 million).
The aim of the expansion is "to create a world class facility which will become the port of first choice for vessels plying the routes from the Red Sea and Gulf to the Indian Ocean," SPS said, quoted by the daily.
The southern port of Salalah, which is to be boosted by a free trade zone, aims to add two more berths and join the league of mega-ports catering for the world's biggest ships. SPS plans to raise the container port's capacity to 3.5 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) by 2003.
With its four berths and nine cranes, and three more cranes on order to handle 12,000 TEU vessels, a first in the Gulf region, Salalah's volume stood last year at 93,000 TEUs a month. Projected figures are 1.8 million TEUs for 2001 and 2.2 million TEUs in 2002.
On the ground, 150,000 square meters (more than 1.6 million square feet) in multi-purpose buildings are to be constructed by April 2001, and a free trade zone village of 5,800 homes to be developed over a 30-year period.
SPS is 70 percent Omani and the rest owned by Maersk Sea Land of Denmark. Under a September 11 trade zone agreement, SPS now acts as overall port authority on behalf of the Omani government, taking over operation of the India Ocean town's conventional cargo port. — (AFP, Muscat)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )