DUBAI (AFP) -Dubai’s port operator DP World has refused to pay an 84-million-dollar transaction fee slaped by US port authorities on the sale of the company’s US operations.
“We have not accepted and we will not accept the huge fee they now demand,” Dubai World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem was quoted by Khaleej Times daily as saying Friday.
The newspaper said the New York Port Authority has demanded DP World pay the fee in order to authorise the sale of its US port facilities to AIG Global Investment Group.
Sulayem said he was confident of reaching a solution to proceed with the deal, which would terminate DP World’s US operations acquired through its purchase the worldwide assets of Britain’s P and O.
“We remain committed to completing the sale as promised,” he said.
DP World announced in December it had reached a deal to sell its US port operations, whose acquisition sparked a furore early in 2006, to a subsidiary of AIG.
It said its P and O Holdings Inc subsidiary has reached an agreement to sell 100 percent of P and O Ports North America to a wholly owned subsidiary of the US-based global asset management company.
DP World, which is controlled by the government of the Gulf emirate of Dubai, became one of the world largest port operators when it acquired P and O early last year for 6.9 billion dollars.
But it had to relinquish operations at six US ports following US congressional opposition on security grounds.
Although President George W. Bush backed the deal, the Dubai government put an end to the controversy by deciding in March to cede control of the ports to a US entity.