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Shipper MSC to buy 50% stake in Italian passenger rail group Italo

Shipping group MSC hasentered into a binding agreement to acquire a 50% stake in Italian passenger rail operator Italo, owned by U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), it said on Monday.

Swiss-based MSC, which operates the world’s largest container line by fleet capacity, has recently expanded through a series of acquisitions in the logistics sector.

Under the deal, the remaining 50% will be held by GIP, along with German insurer Allianz ALVG.DE and other co-investors. MSC and GIP will have joint governance of the business, GIP said.

“We strongly believe in the potential of Italo to further strengthen rail connectivity across Italy but also the Italian tourism market,” Diego Aponte, Group President of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA, said in a statement.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement gives Italo an enterprise value of 4.2 billion euros ($4.4 billion), including 930 million euros of debt, Corriere della Sera reported last week.

Italo operates in the high-speed rail passenger transportation market and it is the second largest operator in Italy after state-owned Ferrovie dello Stato.

Infrastructure fund GIP bought Italo in 2018 for an equity value of around2 billion euros.

MSC was founded by Italian Gianluigi Aponte in 1970 and has since grown into a business with some 180,000 employees.

Last monthMSC offered to buy almost half of the main operator of Hamburg port in a deal that could be worth nearly 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion).

Last year MSC bought Bollore Africa Logistics from French conglomerate Bollore BOLL.PA, on the basis of a 5.7 billion euro ($6.1 billion) enterprise value.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Elisa Anzolin, editing by Cristina Carlevaro and Keith Weir)

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