Private equity makes more acquisitions in the tug and barge sector

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Tidewater Barge Lines tug and barge

Private equity investors have been on the acquisition trail in the tug and barge sector, with both Vancouver, Wash. headquartered Tidewater Transportation & Terminals and Muskegon, Mich. based Andrie, Inc. finding new owners.

Tidewater Transportation has been acquired from Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners by an investor group that includes Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners, Ullico, funds and accounts under management by Black Rock, Silverfern, and other co-investors.

Tidewater’s operations include Tidewater Barge Lines,and Burnaby, British Columbia, headquartered Island Tug and Barge (ITB), the West Coast’s largest bulk transporter of refined petroleum products. ITB Subsea, a division of ITB, supplies a wide range of marine services including underwater cable laying, ROV services, and marine construction

“Tidewater is the premier inland marine transportation company in the Northwest,” said Marietta Moshiashvili, Managing Partner and CEO of Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners. “This acquisition provides us with a unique opportunity to add an outstanding company to our investment portfolio. We look forward to being part of Tidewater’s legacy and growth.”

“The Tidewater management team is excited about our new ownership by Upper Bay and the Investor Group,” said Bob Curcio, CEO of Tidewater. “When considering the future for the company, the management team’s top priority is to ensure our customers continue to see the same high-quality, economical service that Tidewater has delivered for 87 years.”

AUXO MARINE

Andrie, LLC, meantime, marks the sixth acquisition in 16 months by Auxo Investment Partners and builds on its December 2017 acquisition of New Orleans based dry bulk barge operator M/G Transport Services.

Andrie, founded in 1988, by Barbara Andrie, mother of the current CEO, operates throughout the Great Lakes, Cement makes up most of its volume, followed by asphalt, light oil products, and calcium chloride. It currently operates 19 vessels and has a workforce of 150.

“This company has been a big part of my family since its earliest days, so deciding to bring in a new partner wasn’t a decision we took lightly,” said Stan Andrie Jr., who will remain as the company’s CEO. “But I was struck by Auxo Investment Partners’ leadership, Midwest roots and strong ties to the marine industry as a result of its ownership of M/G Transport Services. Not only is this new partnership a cultural fit that will preserve the legacy of what we’ve accomplished, it’s one that will position us for strong growth in the years ahead.”

Auxo says that while Andrie and M/G Transport Services transport different products over different geographies (M/G Transport Services operates on rivers), both are dominant players in their respective spaces, and share a passion for excellent customer service. Two well-known industry figures, Greg and John Binion, will serve on Andrie’s new board, as they do for M/G Transport Services. The two companies will operate under the newly created Auxo Marine platform.

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