ACT shareholders vow to take control of Sun Hung Kai Properties' stake by the end of this month Efforts by Singapore's state-owned PSA International Corp to grab a slice of Hong Kong's lucrative container traffic business have been foiled again, after its $2.3 billion offer for a 57 per cent stake in Asia Container Terminals (ACT) was nullified by existing shareholders yesterday. NWS Holdings and CSX World Terminals, the two minority shareholders in the Kwai Chung container terminal operator, will match PSA's bid and take control of the stake owned by Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) by the end of this month, an NWS spokesman said yesterday. 'We have exercised our first right of refusal [as allowed in the ACT shareholding agreement],' the spokesman said. The stake would be split between CSX and NWS in proportion to their shareholdings in ACT, he added. Last month, PSA offered $685 million to Hongkong Land Holdings for a 28.5 per cent stake in ACT, which owns two idle berths at Container Terminal 8 West. SHKP, however, swooped in to take the stake at a marginally higher price, doubling its holdings in ACT to 57 per cent. Later in the month, SHKP announced it would sell its entire stake to PSA. PSA's undoing came on December 7, when Dubai Ports International bought the equity in CSX World held by United States-based CSX Corp, or an effective 16.7 per cent interest in ACT. Under the ACT shareholding agreement, shareholders retain the first right of refusal to buy any stake in ACT before it can be offered to non-competing outside parties. With CSX selling its assets, it was never expected to pursue that option. But when Dubai Ports bought the CSX assets, it also acquired that pre-emption prerogative, which it has now apparently exercised. Under the new arrangement, CSX World's stake in ACT will be raised to 68.61 per cent from 29.5 per cent. NWS's holding in the terminal operator will increase to 31.39 per cent from 13.5 per cent. NWS has an attributable interest of 33 per cent in CSX World. There had been rumours that NWS might apply for an injunction to halt the sale of CSX's Hong Kong assets to Dubai Ports. This would appear unlikely, given the companies' joint move to derail PSA's purchase of the ACT stake. The NWS spokesman denied any ill will towards the Dubai Ports purchase. 'The rumours are not true. We have no intention of stopping the sale,' he said.