Global Ports Holding, which counts Malta’s Valletta Cruise Port as just one of 26 cruise ports it operates around the world, is offering local investors up to €25 million 6.25 per cent unsecured and guaranteed bonds, maturing in 2030.
The London-based group touts itself as “the world’s largest independent cruise port operator”, having a market share of 12 per cent.
Its portfolio of cruise ports is centred in the Mediterranean, but it is also present in Denmark, Singapore, and Vietnam.
In the Caribbean, the group has operations in Nassau (the Bahamas) and Antigua. In the coming months, it is expected to conclude another multi-million long term concession agreement for the San Juan Cruise Port which is located in Puerto Rico.
The majority of the funds raised from the bond issue - approximately €22 million - shall be on-lent by the issuer to selected members of the group for the purposes of financing, in whole or in part, the group’s investments already committed, in respect of the Canary Island cruise ports, including Las Palmas; the Tarragona Cruise Port; the Kalundborg Cruise Port, and the Alicante Cruise Port.
The remainder will be used as general corporate funding.
Valletta Cruise Port CEO Stephen Xuereb is also Chief Operating Officer of Global Ports Holding. He has been vocal in his calls to the industry to adopt a greener approach by making infrastructural adjustments to provide shore-to-ship energy.
Josef Cutajar, a Financial Analyst with MZ Investment Services, the sponsor of the bond issue, took to LinkedIn to comment on the move.
He noted a “remarkable aspect” of the group’s strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic, being “the extent to which it took advantage of the unique opportunities that were created at the time in the market to aggressively expand its portfolio of cruise ports to 26 compared to 16 in 2019.”
“This rapid growth not only resulted in a stronger and more geographically diversified profile but is also expected to result in improved returns and economies of scale going forward,” he wrote.
Turning his attention to Malta’s capital market, he acknowledged the “high element of concentration risks towards the Maltese economy in general and the elevated exposure towards some of the largest segments like tourism, property, and financial services.”
“In this respect, the addition of a new international name and standing such as Global Port is surely a welcome development in line with the roadmap enacted by the Malta Stock Exchange some years back for a more vibrant and successful local capital market.”
Valletta Cruise Port / Facebook