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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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02/07/18 09:34

Morace close to selling the Liberty to Marnavi

Negotiations regarding Ustica Lines takeover are in progress although several pieces are still missing to fill the puzzle in

Latest rumours were finally confirmed also by the companies involved, after reliable sources informed Ship2Shore about the ongoing negotiation between Ustica Lines and Naples-based Marnavi of the Ievoli family.

The helm of the group, Vittorio Morace, has seemingly made this decision after the 'Mare Nostrum' investigation, started by Palermo Public Prosecutor between February and March 2017, which, following various seizures and bans, finally excluded shipowners from running the company, after ex managing director Ettore Morace (son to Vittorio and main defendant in the investigation), had already determined to 'go back’ to Spanish Balearia in January.

Meanwhile Salvatore Lauro (Alilauro), mentioned by local press as a potential buyer, seemingly due to his former experience at the helm of Compagnia delle Isole, confirmed not being embroiled in the affair “actually after that unhappy experience”.

In fact CdI was adjudicated Siremar in 2012 and determined to 'hand back' the company in 2016 after an intricate legal proceeding.

The Siremar affair is currently one of the pending subjects in the negotiation between the Morace and Ievoli families.

Furthermore, besides running some subsidised lines from Sicily region, in 2016 Liberty Lines was adjudicated, in partnership with Caronte&Tourist (as SNS-Società Siciliana di Navigazione), ex Tirrenia's subsidiary serving minor islands.

Subsequently, the two partners split state subsidies (56 million Euro/year), however a change in ownership  would also  embroil Caronte, at least in relation to SNS partnership.

Moreover, regarding the allocated subsidy, which has been disrupted by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructures months ago, badly affecting (by now Caronte) employees, institutions, neither MIT nor the Region's Department for Infrastructures (which neither commented the Morace-Ievoli negotiation) gave reasons for this decision.

Besides MIT and Region's approval, green-light from Liberty Lines' judicial administrator is also required.

Last but not the least, Ievoli's due diligence on Liberty Lines has just started and might last two months.

In any case, the Ievoli family would seemingly go back to passengers business (they already operate in Sicily holding shares in Green Fleet, company handling waste from the Aeolian islands), while shipowner Salvatore Barone (president of Castalia and Domenico Ievoli's trustee) has supported the agreement with the Morace family.

Andrea Moizo  

 

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