Genoa - Alliances and the ownership of stakes in companies are changing. But most importantly the arrangement of the port of Genoa is changing. Everything for over €200 million. According to sources close to the dossier, that figure would be the value of 95% of Gruppo Investimenti Portuali (GIP), which now controls the Sech container terminal in Genoa and the docks at the Darsena Toscana Terminal (TDT) in Livorno. GIP is currently in the hands of Luigi Negri, but the Genoese entrepreneur, together with the minority shareholders (Cerruti and Schenone families), is completing the sale of the company to the English fund Infracapital, which controls Associated British Ports, that operates 21 ports in Great Britain. According to what several sources have told Il Secolo XIX/The MediTelegraph, the operation will be concluded on 20 February – barring any unexpected difficulties - for a figure that is just over €200 million.
The only one of the current shareholders who is remaining in GIP with a minority share will be the shipping agent Giulio Schenone, who will take command of the group according to the English fund’s management. Schenone won’t start his new job, probably as C.E.O., until the next important decisions are made in the UK. On the other hand, one thing that is certain is that the terminal operator Luigi Negri will exit the company. In an interview with Il Secolo XIX/The MediTelegraph on 30 August he spoke of negotiations in progress “with various international funds.” He added that “at least two of them are interested.” In the shipping sector, the operation is already considered a done deal, but there is still €20 million in the balance for the sale. The concession for the Sech Terminal in Genoa, in fact, as well as the ones for Genoa’s other port terminals, will be renewed at the next meeting of the operations committee, which the president of the Port Authority, Paolo Emilio Signorini will call as soon as he has approval from ANAC for the appointment of the board. If the concession is not extended - which is unlikely - the English fund will receive a discount on the price of the sale of €20 million. But the imminent control of GIP by Infracapital will also allow the English fund to get its hands on the Darsena Toscana Terminal in Livorno, a facility which has a 900,000 TEU capacity and occupies 384,000sqm in the port.
In 2016, the Tuscan port recorded a 2.5% increase in container traffic compared to 800,475 TEU in 2015. It was a new record for Livorno, which was achieved because of the high volume of transhipment traffic, which last year grew by 22.3% over 2015 and reached the level of 30% of the volume moved. The Genoese Calata Sanità Terminal closed out 2016 with a negative balance of over 20 percentage points, to about 300,000 TEU. But at Sech in Genoa, planned investments worth €16 million for the upgrade of the cranes have been recently completed that now allow the terminal to operate on 20 rows of containers on the docks. And there’s more: the channel depths were dredged to 15m depths up to 80m from the land, to allow for large-size container carriers to reach the terminal. These were the last manoeuvres under Genoese command completed in recent weeks, since from 20 February, the Union Jack will fly over the docks.