Qingdao Port announces merger

Qingdao Port in Shandong province announced Tuesday it will become the 100 percent shareholder of its neighboring Weihai Port, a move it said is a major step toward port assets integration in the eastern province.

According to an official announcement, the transfer of ownership is gratuitous and the deal has been signed by the parties involved, including the two port operators and owners.

The transfer will not however include non-operational assets nor debts.

Qingdao Port said the two ports have similar businesses and that the merger is expected to eliminate regional competition and improve port services.

The merger is still under review by the State Administration for Market Regulation, said the announcement.

Qingdao Port recorded operating revenues of 11.74 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) in 2018, a 15.72 percent increase on the previous year.

Insiders said the acquisition is part of Shandong province's efforts in optimizing its port resources.

The Bohai Bay Port Group, comprising Binzhou Port, Dongying Port and Weifang Port, was unveiled in March 2018. It was considered the first step toward port resource integration in Shandong province.

Port asset integration at provincial level has become a trend in China, with provinces including Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Liaoning establishing unified port groups or corps in the past few years.