Job cuts unlikely say P&O buyers

Contributed by editor on Nov 29, 2005 - 06:09 PM


The P&O ports and ferries group, recognised by the British as their sea-sickness-inducing passageway to exotic locales such as Calais, Bilbao, Rotterdam and Zeebrugge has agreed to be bought by Dubai Ports World in a takeover deal worth £3.3 billion. 

French supermarkets - a favourite for booze cruisers 

Last month, P&O announced it had been approached by a potential bidder. "We did not solicit the bid but we received an attractive proposition," admitted P&O chairman Sir John Parker on Tuesday, "Putting P&O and DP World together will create one of the top three leading ports groups in the world." 

P&O started in 1840 after the Peninsular Steam Navigation Company won a British Admiralty contract to carry the mail overseas in 1837. 

There are now three divisions, ferries, ports and logistics, although most U.K. landlubbers know it solely as a means of doing a "booze cruise" - loading up a hired van with cheap beer and wine from French supermarkets for the festive season. 

It has been restructuring over the past two years to try to counter a drop in ferry passengers, partly thanks the phenomenal growth of low-cost airlines like Ryannair and stiff competition from other ferry operators and Eurotunnel.

DPW is a new kid on the block. Created a month ago by the Dubai government, the company says it plans to keep P&O's headquarters in London and Chief Executive Robert Woods would continue to head the business. 

There are unlikely to be any job cuts as P&O will be run as a separate business, DP World says, as there is very little overlap between the operations of the two companies.