Consolidation in South and Central American towage continues with another transaction announced in a growth sector
Sociedad Matriz (SAAM) has acquired a controlling stake in a regional tug owner to become a leader in South and Central American towage.
It has agreed to acquire a 70% stake in Intertug Investment Holding from shareholders to enter the Colombia’s towage industry and gain more business in Mexico.
Intertug operates a 25-vessel fleet that logs more than 18,000 manoeuvres a year. This generates around US$44M in towage service revenue annually.
SAAM chief executive Macario Valdés said this acquisition would “reinforce our presence in Mexico and Central America” which is where SAAM expects growth in ports and towage this decade.
“The partnership with Intertug allows us to enter Colombia, one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America,” Mr Valdés said.
SAAM is based in Chile and already provides towage services in Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Panama
“This transaction is consistent with our growth and internationalisation strategy,” said Mr Valdés.
“It is complemented by our recently announced entry into El Salvador. Therefore, we will continue to strengthen the service we provide our customers by integrating SAAM Towage’s single operating model and broad coverage with our partners’ recognised experience in the local market,” Mr Valdés added.
After the acquisition of Intertug’s fleet is completed, SAAM Towage will operate a fleet of more than 170 tugs in 11 countries.
This transaction will be a combined capital increase and share purchase and is subject to approval from regulatory authorities.
In 2019, SAAM Towage acquired all of the shares in a joint venture it ran with Boskalis – SAAM Smit Towage – for US$194M.
After that deal was completed, SAAM Towage managing director Felipe Rioja exclusively explained to Tug Technology & Business SAAM Towage’s expansion plans.
During that interview, he said, “The Caribbean area is a potential growth opportunity for us,” including Central America in that. “We are actively mapping the market for the right opportunity to expand,” he said.
He highlighted how plans to open new terminals for container ships, tankers and gas carriers in Latin America will drive towage demand in the 2020s.
“We have a special eye for terminal towage in this region as it demands renewal to its current available fleet,” he said.
SAAM Towage has operations in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay. It operates at more than 60 ports in the Americas, servicing over 25,000 ships a year.