Four private equity funds circle around Rimorchiatori Riuniti’s towage business

Rimorchiatori Riuniti of Italy has started a process to secure a financial partner, targeting new investments and takeovers in its harbour towage business.

The Genoa-based group headed by the Gavarone and Delle Piane families has launched a tender to financial investors interested at presenting before the end of October binding offers for purchasing a minority stake (ranging between 30 and 40%) of a newly formed subholding called Rimorchiatori Mediterranei. The latter controls Rimorchiatori Riuniti Porto di Genova, Rimorchiatori Salerno, Rimorchiatori Augusta, Rimorchiatori Malta and a 50% stake in Gesmar group which are the companies operating harbour towage services in the Italian ports of Genoa, Salerno, Augusta, Ravenna, Trieste, Ancona and also Valletta in Malta. Apart from this business Rimorchiatori Riuniti is also active in the offshore industry with a fleet of AHTSs and PSVs and in the shipping business with some bulk cariers and one containership.

Four investment funds are understood to be looking at the dossier and will likely submit offers. They are vehicles related to Blackstone, First State Investments, Deutsche Bank and the Italian F2i.

The interest of the four financial players in the harbour towage branch of Rimorchiatori Riuniti – a business operated through concessions from the local port authorities – is explained by the good financial results produced by the group. In 2016 the overall revenues of Rimorchiatori Riuniti group were €114.5m with a net result of €17.6m. The single branch under the new subholding Rimorchiatori Mediterranei obtained €93.8m of revenues and €21m of the total net result last year. Gesmar group, which is jointly controlled (50-50) with the Vitiello family based in Ravenna, is not included in the cited numbers and has €43.5m of revenues and €7.7m of net result.

Nicola Capuzzo

Nicola is a highly qualified journalist focused on transport economics, logistics and shipping with broad experience in both online and printed media. Specialties: shipping, ship finance, banking, commodities and port economics. He regularly interviews Europe's top shipowner executives for Maritime CEO magazine.
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