HPH withdraws from Ecuador venture

Hong Kong: Hutchison Port Holdings said it will withdraw from an agreement to operate a port in Ecuador, because the nation’s government unilaterally changed the terms of the pact.

The decision by Hutchison Port Holdings comes a month after Ecuador President Rafael Correa said his government might expel the company because it wasn’t meeting a timetable for investments at Manta port. Hutchison signed a 30-year concession in 2006 for the modernization and operation of the port. The contract called for US$240 million in infrastructure investments, US$161 million in equipment and US$122 million for maintenance. Around 30% of the US$523 million investment was meant to be disbursed during the first six years. On January 7, the port authority of Manta said it gave Terminales Internacionales de Ecuador S.A., a 95%-owned unit of Hutchison, 90 days to fulfill its contract terms. Manta, which is a major city for Ecuador’s tuna industry, is located in the westernmost part of Ecuador’s Pacific coast.

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