International law firm Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) advised three leading Italian shipowners -Rimorchiatori Mediterranei, Gesmar and Fratelli Neri – on their partnership agreement with Thessaloniki-based Greek maritime operator Gigilinis Shipping Group. The deal closed on 29 November.
The deal represents a strategic milestone in Italian ship owners’ expansion into the Greek and broader Eastern Mediterranean markets, most notably into the key port of Thessaloniki.
Rimorchiatori Mediterranei is the leading player in the harbour towage sector in Italy, and number two in the Mediterranean, operating a modern fleet of more than 100 tugs and other units, equipped with advanced technology. In 2016 it generated revenues of around €110m.
Gesmar was founded by Neapolitan ship owner Eduardo Vitiello, who went into towage business in the early 80s with the takeover of S.E.R.S. which was then supplying tug services in the port of Ravenna. Today Gesmar Group is by far the largest tug operator in the Adriatic Sea and, jointly with its shareholders, the largest in Mediterranean also.
Fratelli Neri was founded in Livorno, Tuscany, in 1895 and is active across the Mediterranean offering a wide range of maritime services for terminal and oil and gas sector clients in marine coastal and offshore waters and terminal/storage onshore.
Giacomo Gavarone (Rimorchiatori Mediterranei CEO), Luca Vitiello (Gesmar CEO), Corrado Neri (Fratelli Neri MD) and Mario Mizzi (MD for the new Italian joint venture), were all closely involved in this transaction.
Gigilinis Shipping Group is active, both in Greece and internationally, investing in ports and providing a broad range of maritime sector services such as shipping agencies, salvage & towage, tug ownership & tug management, sale & purchase and brokerage.
The WFW Italy Maritime team advising the shipowners was led by Partner Furio Samela, assisted by Senior Associate Michele Autuori, on the Italian law aspects of the transaction, with Athens Partner Marisetta Marcopoulou and Associate Matina Kanellopoulou providing Greek law advice.
FP Corporate Finance acted as financial advisor to the Italian ship-owners, led by Partners Fabrizio Fiorito and Mario Pascarella.
Athens law firm Papapolitis & Papapolitis advised the Gigilinis Shipping Group, with Ionian Capital acting as their financial advisor.