Page last updated at 12:24 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

Forth Ports to talk to consortium bidding for the firm

Grangemouth port aerial
Grangemouth is one of seven UK ports owned by the company

The Edinburgh-based owner of seven UK ports has said it will meet a consortium of shareholders which is bidding for the company.

Forth Ports has already rejected two approaches from the Northstream group, which offered £612m earlier this month.

The operator owns ports including Tilbury in London and Grangemouth and Leith in Scotland.

The company said it would meet with the bidding consortium "in their capacity as shareholders".

Forth made the statement as it announced a return to the black, with full-year pre-tax profits of £36.3m compared with losses of £30.7m in 2008.

The return to profit came partly after a positive revaluation of its land assets, which had been cut from £282m to £60m in 2008.

The group said its property assets had improved to £74m at the end of 2009.

Forth, which has about 1,200 staff, also has ports in Dundee and on the Firth of Forth at Methil, Burntisland and Rosyth.

The Northsteam consortium, which has made two bids for Forth Ports, is led by the investment firm Arcus European Infrastructure Fund and also includes Peel Ports.

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