Ports America up for sale

Ports America, the closely held maritime-terminal operator, is exploring a sale, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Highstar Capital, the private equity firm that owns Ports America, is working with investment bank RBC Capital Markets LLC to find a buyer, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The company could be valued at about $1 billion in a sale, the people said.

Ports America, which is based in New Jersey, has expanded since a predecessor company was acquired by Highstar in 2007. Highstar added the Marine Terminals Corporation the same year, according to Ports America’s website, and an interest in Kao Ming Container Terminal in Taiwan in 2012.

Highstar, which can trace its origins back to insurer American International Group Inc., was purchased by Oaktree Capital Group in June 2014. The Highstar team continues to manage the investments, with the exception of those in the firm’s 2011 vintage pool, which is controlled by Oaktree.

Spokesmen for Ports America and Highstar declined to comment. A representative of RBC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ports America is the largest independent maritime terminal operator on the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. The company handled 10.1 million tons of general cargo and 1.7 million cruise ship passengers last year, according to its website.

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