Saudi's Emaar EC says port unit agrees capital hike to fund expansion

ABU DHABI, July 6 Sun Jul 6, 2014 4:29am EDT

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ABU DHABI, July 6 (Reuters) - Emaar Economic City said on Sunday shareholders of its Port Development Company subsidiary agreed to an increase in capital to 5.21 billion riyals ($1.39 billion) to help finance the expansion of the kingdom's first privately-owned port.

Shareholders agreed the capital increase on July 3, bringing Emaar Economic City's current holding of the company to 2.6 billion riyals, or a 50 percent stake, a statement on the Saudi stock exchange said.

It didn't state what the port company's last capital figure was, nor Emaar Economic City's previous shareholding. The remainder of the shares are owned by Huta Marine Company, the statement said.

The increase in capital is to strengthen the financials of the port company and facilitate funding ahead of the planned second phase of work on King Abdullah Economic City port which includes upping capacity, the statement said.

The port, which began operating on Jan. 6, currently has an annual capacity of 1.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units, which is expected to rise to 4 million TEUs in two years and 7 million in 2018, the chief executive of Emaar Economic City told Reuters in January.

Emaar Economic City, a consortium headed by Dubai's Emaar Properties and Saudi investors, is focused on building the King Abdullah Economic City, a special economic zone up Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast from Jeddah.

The zone is projected to be the size of Washington DC when completed, hosting as many as 2 million people and helping to diversify the kingdom's economy beyond oil into light industry and shipping. ($1 = 3.7504 Saudi Riyals) (Reporting by Maha El Dahan; Editing by David French)

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