SAAM and SMIT Team Up – Joint Venture Likely to Create Leading U.S. Tug Operation

SMIT Tugs tow FPSO SSP Piranema. Photo: SMIT

SANTIAGO (Dow Jones)–Chilean shipping company Compania Sud Americana de Vapores SA’s (VAPORES.SN) logistics SAAM business and Dutch dredging and maritime services company Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV’s (BOKA.AE) SMIT unit signed a memorandum of understanding to join the units’ respective tugboat businesses.

Vapores, which has been weighed down by hefty ship and container leasing fees, falling transport prices, and rising international oil prices, is restructuring its business to face what it has called a deteriorating global scenario.

“Upon closing the joint venture, these companies would lead the market in the American continent, operating initially a fleet of 150 leading-technology tugboats,” said Vapores.

Vapores and Boskalis valued SAAM’s port tugboat business at $520 million and SMIT’s business at $470 million.

Earlier this year, as part of wider restructuring plans, shareholders of Vapores approved a $1.2 billion capital increase and agreed to a spinoff of SAAM. Vapores expects to spin off SAAM into a new company that will be listed on the Santiago Stock Exchange.

-By Anthony Esposito, Dow Jones Newswires