Deutsche AM tugged towards harbour towage investment

The deal is the €1.8bn fund’s fourth investment, all of which have been in the transport sector.

Deutsche Asset Management has agreed to invest in an Italian harbour towage company via its second €1.8 billion infrastructure fund.

Pan European Infrastructure II has acquired a 35 percent stake in Rimorchiatori Mediterranei, with the remainder held by existing owner Rimorchiatori Riuniti.

The company operates over 100 tugboats, mainly in concessions in ports in Italy and Malta. Rimorchiatori Mediterranei is also present in the North Sea, West Africa and Brazil. It generated revenue of about €110 million in 2016.

Deutsche AM declined to disclose the purchase price.

The move to admit the fund as a new shareholder “was not an easy decision”, according to Gregorio Gavarone, chief executive of Rimorchiatori Mediterranei.

“However, we are convinced that the future success of this business will very much depend on our capacity to build up large economies of scale, transparent standard processes and adequate investments to ensure an efficient service of the highest quality for our clients.”

The harbour towage business is traditionally part of port operations, although a number of ports have outsourced the services in recent years. Deutsche, which owns 49 percent of Peel Ports through its €2 billion 2007-vintage fund, said its experience in the ports sector will help grow the new investment.

The latest deal was sourced through that fund’s €1.8 billion successor, which closed in July with a further €800 million of co-investment capital. It is the vehicle’s fourth transaction and second in Italy following its joint acquisition with InfraVia of the Venice Airport concession. The other investments comprise locomotive leasing business Akiem and TCR, an airport ground support equipment provider.