Financial markets, traditionally, have been a secondary source of funds for the port industry, compared with alternative financial resources such as retained earnings, governmental support and corporate bank loans (Stopford, 2009). Nonetheless, the amount of money required for upgrading extant infrastructures, developing mega-projects and fuelling private terminal operators’ overseas expansion made the traditional sources of capital inadequate.
In this perspective, recent empirical evidence suggests that equity capital markets will extend their role in the promotion of the port industry. In the last decade, in fact, several terminal operators and (corporatized) ports have gathered huge amounts of financial resources thanks to initial public offering (IPO). In 2007, for example, DP World Limited was listed on the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) by undertaking the Middle East’s largest IPO, valued more than 4.5 USD billion, whereas, in 2011, HPH Trust’s IPO raised gross proceeds of approximately 5.45 USD billion.
Despite that, no prior contributions focus on the port IPOs as a key research area, and an irrefutable literature gap exits. Therefore, the port study of PortEconomics members Theo Notteboom, Francesco Parola, Giovanni Satta along with Luca Persico (University of Genoa), aims to assess the performance of port IPOs, by developing an overarching conceptual framework that captures the determinants of long-run aftermarket performance, and stresses the explanatory power of “financial markets”, “institutional factors” and “industry specific variables”.