Another 10 days to know CIM’s fate
Several logistics giants, from Hupac to VTE and Mercitalia, are interested in controlling the interport of Novara (600,000 sm and 40 trains per day)
While the Italian media focused on the Silk Road and on the transport sector, the deadline to submit offers to take over 43.86% of CIM Spa expired. CIM manages the interport of Novara, one of the most dynamic intermodal centres in Italy, with 600,000 sm of areas connected to various Northern-European destinations (Rotterdam, Antwerp, Genk, Zeebrugge, Ostend, Le Havre, Valenton, Noisy, Duisburg, Lübeck and Hams Hall) by 20 train pair per day, its own intermodal terminal (160,000 sm), besides the adjacent terminal (Boschetto) managed by Mercitalia, on which CIM has a purchase option at a fixed price (17 million Euro) valid until next July, although this is not specified in the announcement.
This could be one of the reasons why bidders obtained an extension until April the 8th. Besides, the announcement for competition was issued by Finpiemonte Partecipazioni, the company which manages the Region’s participations, and the 43.86% stake actually consists of two shares: one held directly, and the other belonging to SITO (Torino Interport’s managing company, controlled by the Region).
The English auction starts from a price of 17.4 million Euro, including a majority premium since CIM’s shareholders have an option right on the shares put up for sale by the Municipality (16.88%) and Province (2.65%) which would ensure the control of the company. However, the price has not been established yet.
In the past years, in particular in 2017 (latest financial statements available) due to the Rastatt incident, traffics decreased, although Vice-President Cristoforo Canavese ensured that “in the first three months of this year we recorded impressing figures”, and that the market trend will definitely reward “one of the few intermodal infrastructures operating on the P400 loading gauge”.
However, when asked about the interest of its reference shareholder, Gavio group (24.31% through the motorway operator Satap), Canavese skirted the issue: “The group is interested in North-western logistics, from the port of Genoa to the interports of Vado, Rivalta and Novara, but I cannot make further revelations”.
However, anyone who wants CIM will have to deal with the FS group, which is not only a shareholder through Mercitalia (1.53%, with managing director Marco Gosso in the Board of Directors), but it also owns the Boschetto yard areas, “which CIM regards as strategic because, if they are integrated to its terminal, they will favour the development of the interport, increasing the number of trains to be managed”. Moreover, Mercitalia is also the majority shareholder of Eurogateway, the company dealing with handling in the entire area.
In fact, FS is one of the possible purchasers, although most of the existing traffics are managed by its competitors. Moreover, the company’s strategy in North-West Italy is not as clear (as the ongoing transfer of Alessandria and San Bovo proves) as that in the area east and south of Milan, where Mercitalia is developing the Teralp project, providing for the implementation of three intermodal platforms in Milano Smistamento (Segrate), Brescia and Piacenza.
According to Ship2Shore’s sources, FS’s partner in Teralp, i.e. the Swiss Hupac, is interested in the CIM dossier, being also its user and shareholder (3.64%), and which might be the perfect addition to its Busto Arsizio-Gallarate terminal.
According to rumours, Singaporean PSA is another bidder as, together with VTE, it has long been looking for a dry port area (especially Rivalta), while there are less chances for the Port Authority of Genoa.
Finally, in light of MSC Group’s interest in the land sector, Medlog might be another bidder, while it is likely that a transport operator decides to partner with a real estate player that can manage the lease of CIM’s warehouse, as well as the expansion across over 500,000 sm of areas east of the structure for logistics purposes.
We just have to wait for 10 days, although many believe that 17.4 million (to which the amount for the Municipality’s and Province’s shares, besides the possible investment related to Boschetto and to the refitting of several structures should be added) is an overrated starting price, and that therefore a second procedure will be needed.