Manila-based International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) is pulling out of Syria amid a civil war that threatens the viability of the company’s operations and the safety of its personnel.
In a disclosure, the company said the decision came following the failure of negotiations with its Syrian partner for relief “from the clear imbalance of the parties’ economic relationship,” which ICTSI said was a breach of their initial agreement.
As a result, ICTSI unit Tartous International Container Terminal jsc (TICT) filed a notice of termination of its investment agreement with Syria’s Tartous Port General Co.
“TICT was left with no choice but to issue the notice of termination when Syria plunged into a state of full-fledged civil war, which exposed everyone—combatants and civilians alike—to increasing threat of death and destruction on a daily basis,” ICTSI told the local bourse.
ICTSI said Tartous Port General refused to negotiate in good faith to revise its initial agreement with TICT.
ICTSI, controlled by businessman Enrique Razon Jr., said it considered the Syrian conflict “force majeure,” which, under its agreement with Tartous Port General, was a ground for the revision of the terms of its deal.
TICT’s business in Syria started in 2007, when it signed a 10-year deal with Tartous Port General to manage and operate the Tartous port on Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
ICTSI’s investments in Syria make up just 0.4 percent of its total assets. The termination of this business will result in the write-off of $1.2 million in investments.
In a separate disclosure, ICTSI said it would set aside $83 million of its existing retained earnings for additional working capital in 2013.
It also said it would increase its stake in Pakistan International Container Terminal (PICT) through the acquisition of Virgin Islands-based Aeolina Investments Ltd.
Aeolina now owns 15.72 percent of PICT. Acquiring Aeolina would give ICTSI a 63.59-percent stake in PICT, which operates the Karachi Port in the Pakistani capital. Paolo G. Montecillo