Columbia Shipmanagement enters Italian market in joint venture with Premuda

Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) is entering the Italian market after agreeing a joint venture which will see it take on the full management of the entire Premuda fleet.

Group Premuda, controlled by Pillarstone, the industrial and financial platform that supports the relaunch of companies in temporary difficulty, has a fleet of 28 vessels under the control of the Genoese company and Finav, the Fund for credit management in the shipping sector established by Davy Global Fund Management, with the support of Pillarstone Italy.

Under the joint venture announced today (Friday), Premuda will be a shareholder in the new company, which will be called CSM Italy and based in Genoa.

Within the framework outlined, and once trade-union consultation procedures have been concluded, CSM Italy will provide full shipmanagement and maritime services.

Other than management of the Premuda fleet, CSM Italy will offer a full range of management and maritime services to the entire Italian maritime cluster. The share capital of CSM Italy will be potentially open to other participants – Italian owners and operators – willing to join the spirit of such an initiative.

Implementation of this new partnership with CSM will allow Premuda to obtain an even more efficient and flexible fleet management, which is more and more necessary in the current competitive market, and to continue its business model transformation and its activity expansion, undertaken at the beginning of 2019 with the full support of the shareholder.

According to Mark O’Neil (pictured), President and CEO of CSM, the joint venture confirms CSM’s ambitions in the important Italian market. “CSM has always had the greatest respect for the Italian shipping sector. We believe we are the right partner for a company in strong growth, to which we can ensure economies of scale, digital solutions and operational optimisation. CSM Italy will stand ready and willing to serve other Italian operators, in all of the maritime sectors, providing them with a tailored service to meet their particular needs and involving them in the development of the Company from the outset. This is an extremely exciting time for Italian shipping and we wish our new Managing Director Xanthos Kyriacou the very best for the future. He is absolutely the right person for the job,” he said.

Marco Fiori, CEO of Premuda, added: “Two ‘first in class’ organizations, that share the same business approach, have identified a common goal. The opportunity to partner with CSM comes from a very thorough analysis of our operating model and it is a fundamental part of the Premuda development, aimed at optimising the commercial and strategic management of the fleet, with the support of a technical partner of the highest level. This new operation is a ‘win win’ for the two participants and for Genoa that will host the activity of a new international group.”

Gaudenzio Bonaldo Gregori, CEO of Pillarstone Italy, added: “Today’s operation represents a further step in Premuda’s development and reaffirms the strong commitment we have towards the Italian shipping sector, where we have become a very important player.”

Premuda was founded more than a century ago and, since 2016, has been controlled by Pillarstone Italy, the turnaround platform sponsored by the private equity fund KKR. In the last two years, the company has completed a significant renewal of the management team and relaunched the Premuda brand in the international market. With this goal, the Company has started an articulated rationalisation programme; it has increased and diversified its fleet and progressively transformed its business model. By maintaining its headquarters in Genoa, Premuda is today an international company increasingly focused on the global market.

Columbia Shipmanagement is one of the largest privately-owned international ship managers with offices in Cyprus, Singapore, Germany, China (Shanghai), and recently opened offices in Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) and Greece (Athens). Set up over 41 years ago by its Chairman Heinrich Schoeller, it provides tailored, performance optimised services to its international clients in all of the maritime sectors, as well as catering management, procurement, logistics, waste disposal, green recycling, superyacht management, cruise management, offshore and energy, and its Performance Optimisation Control Room.