The authorities of the Belgian Port of Ghent and the Dutch port of Zeeland have penned a merger agreement which will be submitted to shareholders and works councils. The merged entity will command a value of approximately US$ 1.2 Billion. After acceptance of the proposals, a new name will be coined and announced for the unified cross-border port. Next week the authorities from both ports plan to present these proposals to their shareholders. Within three months, the stakeholders will return their verdict on the merger between the two port authorities to create a unified, international port authority. This is provisionally planned for December 8, 2017. The first agenda for the agreement is to achieve a 50%-50% basis merger. It will create a single cross-border port area and a single new unified port authority. A 76% majority shareholder’s nod would be required for important decisions. The corporate headquarters will be in the Netherlands, but it will also have an office in the future port authority building on Graslei in Ghent – Belgium. Each port authority will continue to exist and pay tax in its own country. Port authorities will be subsidiaries of the European company. They will exchange their own shares for those of the European company. In this way, the port authorities will retain their own assets (land, buildings and infrastructure) as subsidiaries of this new European company. The subsidiaries will also remain responsible for performing public tasks like maintenance of roads in the port area, directing nautical traffic and safety in the port.
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