DP World: Spotlight on Dubai-based P&O Ferries Owners Business News

A The sudden decision to lay off 800 P&O Ferries employees has thrust its parent company, Dubai-based DP World, into the spotlight.

After scenes of protests at the docks dominated news reports, No 10 signaled that he would assess the legality of P&O’s approach to its staff, who were fired without notice, to be replaced by a other crew.

Such a step is however delicate for the officials. Relations between the UK government and DP World have so far been very cordial.

The shipping and logistics giant operates ports around the world, handling around 10% of global shipping container traffic worldwide, according to a company presentation to investors dated April 2021. In March 2022, the the company reported a “record” a profit of $3.8 billion.

“While P&O Ferries and Ferrymasters have faced a particularly difficult time due to Covid-19, we continue to invest in the business as we believe it will emerge stronger from this crisis,” DP World said in a statement. a presentation to investors in March 2021.

DP World is state-owned through its parent company, Dubai World, to which it sold and then bought P&O for £322 million in 2019. DP World returned to private ownership in 2020, when it was deregistered from the Nasdaq Dubai Stock Exchange.

This holding company, Dubai World, is controlled by the vice-president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. A shared passion for racing led the sheikh to bond with Queen Elizabeth over the decades. The monarch welcomed the ruler of Dubai to her royal box at Ascot.

However, reports claimed the Queen had distanced herself following the UK court ruling which described the Sheikh as waging a ‘campaign of fear and intimidation’ against his estranged wife, Princess Haya, and their two children.

DP World’s ties to Britain have been used as an example of why closer trade ties with the Gulf are a top priority for the UK government. The company’s name has been listed in a slew of briefing notes to UK leaders when addressing stakeholders with examples of post-Brexit trade policy ‘victories’.

Of the society investment in the Thames Freeportin particular, some £300m to expand its berth capacity, has also been used to back up claims that the UK’s post-Brexit efforts to attract foreign investment are paying off.

Britain has also pledged this year to begin trade talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). This received renewed priority in Whitehall, after the Russian energy exporter invaded Ukraine.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and senior officials have stressed the need to prioritize GCC relations to reduce dependence on Russia and keep the lights on in Britain, during visits to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia this week.

Late last year, DP World chief executive Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem shared a stage with Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the Savoy Hotel in London. He was flown in for a photo op alongside Mr Sunak to mark the launch of Britain’s first post-Brexit Freeport in September last year.

“DP World plans to be at the heart of Britain’s business future and this investment shows we have the ambition and the resources to drive growth, support businesses, create jobs and improve living standards. “, said the sultan.

Mr. Sunak’s interest in DP World’s businesses is longstanding. In his 2016 article on freeports, he cited the Jebel Ali Free Zone in the United Arab Emirates, operated by DP World, as an example of how a freeport policy could provide benefits for the UK.

The benefits of free ports in a developed economy like the UK, with low tariffs on industrial inputs, have been disputed by economists.

Dubai World, owner of DP World, has spent a decade repaying creditors in a spider-web restructuring effort, after scrambling to secure funding in 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis world. It made a final payment to its creditors for this tranche of borrowing in 2020.

The global lender of last resort, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its latest health check of the UAE economy released last month, warned that state-owned companies such as Dubai World, which has billions in loans, represent a significant risk for the overall financial stability of the country.

The Washington-based IMF also noted “data limits” on the UAE’s contingent liabilities – financial risks that are effectively on the government’s balance sheet – such as fiscal support that state-owned companies like Dubai World may have had. or that they may need in the future. .

DP World did not respond to The Independents request for comment.

On Thursday, a spokesman for P&O Ferries said, in response to backlash over its decision to immediately lay off staff via video call, that the company had suffered a “loss of £100m a year over the other, which was covered by our parent company DP World”.

They added that without these changes there would be “no future” for the ferry operator.

A government minister has suggested the company return the…

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This notice was published: 2022-03-18 18:58:48

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