J.P. Morgan Asset Management plans to invest 100 million euros (about $138 million) in an expansion project at the Spanish Mediterranean port of Valencia, maritime industry representatives said Tuesday.
The Valencia Port Authority approved the investment plan submitted by Noatum, the largest port operator in Spain.
The plan calls for expanding the piers and work area, as well as improving intermodal infrastructure, Noatum said.
The investment plan shows J.P. Morgan's "firm commitment" to Noatum, in which the New York-based financial giant has a majority stake that it oversees for institutional investors, and to the Port of Valencia, the company said.
J.P. Morgan believes "strongly that the Spanish economy has reached an inflection point and this will have a positive effect on trade activity," Paul Ryan, CEO of infrastructure equity and debt at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, said.
Economic growth turned positive in the second half of 2013 and growth of "around 1 percent in 2014 and 2 percent in 2015, and possibly higher," is expected, Ryan said.
"Total trade volumes and activity at Spanish ports have just come out of a very difficult process, and to the extent that the economic recovery has started, the recovery in trade volumes transported by sea will be even greater," Ryan said.
J.P, Morgan, as a long-term investor, has a commitment to Noatum Ports and Noatum Maritime, or Marmedsa, that "remains strong and firm," Ryan said.
Noatum Ports has interests in Noatum Container Terminal Bilbao, Noatum Container Terminal Valencia, Noatum Container Terminal Malaga and Operaciones Canarias Las Palmas, or OPCSA, as well as in Barcelona's Autoterminal, the largest automobile terminal in the Mediterranean.
The company also operates bulk and general freight terminals - the Noatum Terminal Graneles Santander, Noatum Terminal Polivalente Santander and Noatum Terminal Polivalente Sagunto - and Conterail, an intermodal terminal in Madrid.
Noatum Maritime is a leading provider of maritime services and operator of freight terminals in the Iberian Peninsula, with offices in Spain, Portugal, France and Morocco. EFE