With 21 ports from Ayr to Plymouth, Associated British Ports estimates that it handles almost a quarter of all the UK’s seaborne trade. Back in 2006, a consortium led by Goldman Sachs paid £3.4 billion for the company, more than 15 times its profits. Sales have remained broadly flat since then, standing at £408.1m in 2010, but the business recently received a boost when the government approved its plans for a new riverside terminal at Grimsby, which will enable big container ships carrying more than 3,000 cars to use the port.
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