The Dubai-based port operator is working with consultants to gauge interest in the industrial zone and is studying options including selling a stake in the free zone or some of the assets there, the news wire reported, citing people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified.
They said that any sale is likely to attract the interest of infrastructure funds and strategic investors and no final decisions have been taken on the structure of a potential deal.
A DP World representative declined to comment.
Jebel Ali Free Zone attracts nearly a quarter of foreign direct investment to Dubai, with more than 8,000 companies having established operations in the commercial zone since its inception in the mid-1980s, according to its website.
State-owned DP World is exploring selling equity stakes in certain assets, reducing its leverage to around 4 times its earnings by 2022, and maintaining its investment grade rating, Bloomberg reported. It had agreed to buy the free zone operator in a deal worth $2.6 billion in 2014.
Dubai turned DP World into a private company in early 2020 to relieve its debt burden and avoid a repeat of the economic crisis that forced its financial bailout in 2009.