Kotug and Boskalis go ahead with towing services joint venture
Marine service provider and contractor Boskalis and port towage company Kotug International will be going ahead with the announced bundling of their European towing services. The two companies had already announced their intention to do so in late 2014, the Port of Rotterdam Authority said.
They will be establishing a 50/50 joint venture under the name KOTUG SMIT Towage, which will combine all Smit’s port towing activities in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK, and Kotug’s port towing activities in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. All in all, the joint venture concerns eleven European ports in four countries, and a fleet of 65 tugboats.
According to press releases issued by the two firms, this will create “a leading towing services provider in Northwest Europe”. The joint venture’s annual turnover will total some EUR 150 million. Among other things, the bundling is intended to yield “operational synergies”. According to Boskalis CEO Peter Berdowski, this joint venture forms a major step forward in the implementation of Boskalis’s harbour towage strategy, which outlines the concentration and expansion of the firm’s port towing services within regional partnerships. Kotug CEO Ard-Jan Kooren adds that the bundling of activities “responds to the growing demand on the part of our joint international clients for even greater efficiency”.
The financial close of the transaction in the first quarter of 2016 will be followed by the operational integration. In the process, Boskalis will free up some EUR 90 million in cash reserves, primarily by refinancing the activities in question.