“It’s time to unite against the investment funds” / INTERVIEW

Augusto Cosulich’s appeal to companies in the shipping sector.

THE ACQUISITION of 50% of Tecnoservice by Fratelli Cosulich marks another step forward in the group’s development strategy within the logistical chain as a whole. One of the owners, Augusto Cosulich, explained, “Our company is known for its activities as a maritime agency and in bunker trading, but we are also active as a shipowner, terminal owner, freight forwarder, in the trading of finished products, the management of mega-yachts, and in insurance. We are one of the few independent shipping agencies left in Italy and across Europe, following the concentration that has taken place in the shipping industry. Our customers are companies such as Cosco, Arkas, Irisl, Borchard Line, Cotunav, and Ethiopian shipping lines. As a maritime agency, we are trying to diversify into the field of logistics and shipping. We have expanded into the steel sector, where we started working with Duferco and Novex a few years ago, and more recently with Metinvest, one of the most important operators in the world, based in Ukraine, in Kiev. We import about 3 million tonnes of slabs for them at Porto Nogaro and Marghera. With the purchase of Tecnoservice we have closed the logistical cycle. We handle the ships, the agency, and now with Tecnoservice also the ground element, transport to the rolling mills of Metinvest located in Porto Nogaro and Verona”.

The Cosulich Group has been an international player for over 160 years and it covers all sectors of the shipping industry with a turnover of about one billion euros per year. It employs around 1,250 people worldwide and has offices in Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, Macao, Portugal, Monaco, Turkey, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Shanghai, Dublin, Belfast and the United Arab Emirates. Fratelli Cosulich SpA has been operating the agency for years as well as the transport of steel products for leading international companies such as Metinvest, Duferco and Novex. The joint venture with Tecnoservice represents an important opportunity for both companies to further develop their logistics, terminal and multimodal transport activities for steel products, containers and project cargo. Augusto Cosulich said, “the Provezza family, is from Brescia, and very strong in the steel sector. They were raised up on bread and steel since they were children, and have a great knowledge of this sector. We can help them financially and in terms of marketing, to develop investments and customers”. Tecnoservice S.r.l. has been managing the various phases of logistics for years, providing a complete service to its customers, following the different phases of the supply chain, from port and customs operations to the distribution of products through the different modalities of rail, inland waterway and road transport.

The investment in Tecnoservice will not be the Cosulich Group’s last. “We have about ten acquisitions on the table, we are doing the due diligence,” said Cosulich, who would like to see more dynamic Italian entrepreneurship in the marketplace. His family has led the group for five generations, and three members of the sixth generation have recently joined the board of directors. “As a group,” he said, “we are constantly trying to invest. We are in favour of acquisitions but against the raids on Italian companies by investment funds that take work away from Italian entrepreneurs solely to reduce costs and for the purpose of reselling a company. We are the investment funds’ competitors, we have made many acquisitions and we will continue to make them. We know that the entrepreneurial class is not very active in acquisitions and development. There are not many mergers in Genoa. We see a major problem in the associations, starting with the shipowners’ associations: I find it ridiculous that there are two associations in Italy merely because their leaders do not agree.

They only do harm to our sector, like the disputes that have taken place in Assiterminal. The majority of us can communicate with each other, but there are too many jealousies, especially in Genoa, at a time when a great deal could be accomplished, because the city is well governed under Mayor Bucci and the Governor of Liguria, Toti”.

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