COLOMBO: The Hambantota port was today formally handed over to a China-led company and Sri Lanka received its initial payment for the lease.
Following the signing of an agreement, the port operations was handed over to Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG) and Hambantota International Port Services (HIPS).
China Merchants Port Holdings Company Ltd. (CMPort) owns 85% and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) owns 15% of the stake in Hambantota International Port Group Ltd. (HIPG), which will undertake the project identified to restructure the Hambantota Port development and transform it to be a commercially-viable national asset in collaboration with the SLPA with an envisaged investment of $794 million.
Hambantota International Port Services Ltd. (HIPS), which will own common user facilities, will be 58% owned by HIPG, and 42% by the SLPA.
The Hambantota Port was identified as a Strategic Development Project through an Extraordinary Gazette notification issued this week where a seven year deadline is set for the establishment of HIPG and to commence commercial operations.
With the transfer of the port to the new China-led company, Sri Lanka received around USD 293 million as the initial payment as part of the deal.