September 9, 2019 / 10:35 AM / 8 days ago

DP World’s Topaz and P&O to complete merger by year-end

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Port operator DP World’s DPW.DI planned merger of its P&O Maritime and recently acquired Topaz Energy and Marine businesses is expected to be completed by the end of the year, Topaz CEO Rene Kofod-Olsen said on Monday.

DP World bought Dubai-based oil services company Topaz in July with the intention of combining it with P&O Maritime as part of efforts to diversify beyond its core port operations to other marine-related sectors.

The merged entity, to be known simply as P&O, will give Topaz a presence in new markets including Australia and South America.

“We certainly see this as a pathway to continue and perhaps accelerate ... growth as a combined entity under DP World,” Kofod-Olsen told Reuters at the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi.

“(It) ... allows us (as a combined entity) to give a whole host of services to our clients that we can’t do today without making huge capital investments.”

Topaz operates in the Caspian Sea, the Middle East and West Africa, working with oil majors such as BP (BP.L) , Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and Saudi Aramco. It had a contract backlog of $1.5 billion at Aug. 21.

P&O Martime provides government, port and oil and gas marine services in Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and South America.

Kofod-Olsen does not expect fundamental change to Topaz’s strategy after the merger but said other DP World marine services operations could later be brought under the P&O brand.

When DP World acquired Topaz it also took on its debt of $700 million to $800 million, which Kofod-Olsen said will be refinanced.

Kofod-Olsen did not rule out any job cuts after the merger, saying: “In any consolidation you need to optimize your workforce.”

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by David Goodman

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