MILAN, Oct 14 (Class Editori) - The Grimaldi shipowning group of Naples is preparing to turn to the Chinese shipbuilding industry for another order of ships, this time ferries, after having recently taken over another car carrier.
The last unit to enter the fleet is the Grande Mirafiori, a Pure Car & Truck Carrier ship delivered at the beginning of the month by the Yangfan shipyard in Zhoushan. After the Grande Torino, which entered the fleet in December 2018, it is the second out of seven twin units commissioned by the Neapolitan group at the Chinese plant.
With a length of almost 200 meters, a width of 36.45, a gross tonnage of 65.255 tons and a cruising speed of 19 knots, it is among the largest Pure Car & Truck Carriers on the market, which can transport around 7.600 Ceu (Car equivalent unit) or alternatively 5,400 linear meters of rolling stock and 2,737 Ceu.
This ship, like the others in the same series, sails between Europe and North America to transport new cars produced by the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group. “The name of this unit recalls the historic Fiat plant, which has celebrated its 80th anniversary this year. We thus honor the long and fruitful partnership that has been linking us for half a century to one of the most important car manufacturers in the world” explained Emanuele Grimaldi, CEO of the Neapolitan group.
Also from China - but this time the project involves Jinling - will arrive next June the first of the twelve Ro/Ro ships of the G5GG series (Grimaldi 5th Generation of Green ships) that the group ordered in April last year for a total investment of over 800 million dollars. These new ships, of which three are destined for the Baltic Sea and the remaining for the Mediterranean, will be capable of transporting over 7,800 linear meters of rolling stock, equal to around 500 trailers.
The next investment will still be in Asia, almost certainly in China, because Grimaldi will proceed to order another series of Super Star Class ferries for the Finnish subsidiary Finnlines within a few weeks. The upcoming order for Finnlines, whose value will exceed 250 million euros for the first two units, will mark the debut of Grimaldi Group in the Chinese naval engineering for passenger ships and the yards competing for the order are Hyundai Mipo in South Korea, in addition to Guangzhou Shipyard International, Avic and Jinling, both controlled by China Merchants, in China. Prices offered by other European shipyards, including Fincantieri, are off-market.
2019, despite the geopolitical uncertainties and the slowdown of the automotive market, for the Neapolitan shipowning group promises to grow after a series of balance sheets marked by very positive results. In 2018, turnover exceeded 3 billion euros while net income was of 212 million.
Emanuele Grimaldi, CEO of the group together with his brother Gianluca, immediately made it clear that, despite the difficult economic situation, the first nine months of the current year were better than the previous year so the company is not expecting a decline in results, or rather a growth.
“The turnover in 2019 was stable, the operating results were positive and in line with previous years. Since the crisis began in 2008, we have taken into account that banks can lend less money to companies, so we reinvested all the profits of the group,” explained Grimaldi.
He added: “In the last decade we have increased our capital by over 2 billion euros, greatly reducing our debt. The group remains focused on logistics, which is the core of our activities. There is a good chance that we will grow significantly in this sector both organically and through mergers and acquisitions.”
Another strength of Grimaldi is the geographical and commercial diversification. The group has developed a significant multidimensional risk diversification.
“We sail in the Baltic, in the North Sea, in the Mediterranean, as well as in the South Atlantic, North Atlantic and West Africa. We serve both passengers and goods, and specifically different types of cargo. We can also count on a wide diversification of asset classes from ships to offices, from private ports to city buildings. This gives us good resilience and stability over the years,” explained the CEO.
Founded in 1947, the Grimaldi Group is wholly owned by the Grimaldi family, which combines a global vision of the market with family traditions and values. Gianluca and Emanuele Grimaldi, sons of the founder Guido, together with their brother-in-law Diego Pacella, are the executive directors of the group that counts on over 15,000 employees.
After dividing the assets from the Grimaldi cousins of Genoa, the Neapolitan group has made several strategic acquisitions, leading in the shipping sector, with the aim of strengthening its leadership in the Ro/Ro business, also creating a dense network of Motorways of the Sea in Europe, both in the Mediterranean and in the Baltic Sea, in line with the European Union's goal of removing loads from the congested road network.
In 2006, the Grimaldis acquired control of Finnlines, leading operator in the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange, which offers services for the transport of goods and passengers in a geographical area characterized by the highest economic growth in Europe. In 2008, acquired the majority of Minoan Lines, the leading Greek operator in the Ferry and Ro/Ro sector, listed on the Athens Stock Exchange. Today the company operates with a fleet owned on both national and international routes.
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