MSC Reaches a Deal to Buy Rimorchiatori's Towing Business

File image courtesy Rimorchiatori Mediterranei

Published Oct 23, 2022 11:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

Number-one carrier MSC Shipping has agreed to buy a large towage operator based in Italy, Rimorchiatori Mediterranei.

The Genoa-based towing firm is the largest in Italy and operates more than 100 tugs in 18 port hubs worldwide. It is a subsidiary of Rimorchiatori Riuniti, a vessel owner and operator with 100 years of history. 

The purchase comes after a period of significant expansion for Rimorchiatori. In June, the Italian company bought Keppel Smit Towage and Maju Maritime, giving it a substantial footprint in Singapore, Malaysia and the Asia Pacific. In 2018, it bought up Sicilian towage outfit Navigation, Tugboats and Rescue, cementing its status as the largest towage provider in Italy. It also has towage operations in Malta, Norway, Greece and Colombia.

“We are very pleased to be able to become part of the exciting next phase for growth and improvement at Rimorchiatori Mediterranei and we look forward to continuing to expand the business, building on the impressive work of the families that developed the company these past 100 years," said Diego Aponte, the founder and president of MSC Group. 

MSC has been on an acquisition spree to build market share, buying, chartering and ordering dozens of vessels to cement its number-one status in the ocean freight ecosystem. In the last year, it has also bought up Brazilian domestic carrier Log-In Logistica and French port and logistics operator Bolloré Africa Logistics. In the cruise sector, it pursued a bid for cruise terminal operator Global Ports Holding (unsuccessfully). 

The sale of Rimorchiatori Mediterranei is a welcome win for Deutsche Bank subsidiary DWS, a German asset-management house which holds a 35 percent stake in the towing firm.

“The evolution of Rimorchiatori Mediterranei has been a considerable success story for DWS; we are grateful for the strategic partnership we developed with Rimorchiatori Riuniti and its shareholders, and we are proud to have supported our industrial partner in managing and growing Rimorchiatori Mediterranei to become one of the global leaders in the harbor towage sector," said Hamish Mackenzie, head of infrastructure at DWS.