Maersk drops Svitzer towage division

A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S (APMM) has initiated the de-listing and separate listing of its towage and marine services subsidiary Svitzer A/S, which dates back almost two centuries and is arguably one of the oldest towage and salvage companies in the world.


There has been speculation around the future of Svitzer within the vast Maersk empire, and once completed this move will mark a new chapter for the globally recognised towage brand, now heavily involved in the port and terminal shiphandling towage sector.

Maersk says that in recent years it has “taken several steps to simplify its business and focus on integrated logistics”, adding: “Building on this, the Board of Directors of APMM has decided to initiate the separation of APMM’s towage and marine services activities through a de-merger.”

Shares in Svitzer and its subsidiaries as well as “certain other related assets and liabilities” will be contributed by APMM to a new legal entity under the name of Svitzer Group A/S, shares of which are expected to be admitted for trading and official listing on Nasdaq Copenhagen A/S.

Following formalities including approval by APMM shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting, a single share class structure for Svitzer Group is proposed with shares distributed to APMM shareholders pro-rata and based on the nominal value of shares held in APMM.

The proposal includes the shareholders receiving one share in Svitzer Group per nominal APMM DKK 500 share and two shares per nominal APMM DKK 1,000 share. Shareholders will therefore also become shareholders in Svitzer Group in addition to their existing holding in APMM.

The demerger and distribution of Svitzer Group shares will be tax-exempt for Danish tax purchases and A.P. Moller Holding A/S, which holds around 41.5% of the total share capital in APMM, has agreed to a 360-day lockup of its expected shareholding in Svitzer Group, subject to certain customary exemptions.


The expected timetable will see publication of Svitzer’s 2023 annual report at the end of February (2024) with March seeing a Capital Markets Day for Svitzer, publication of statutory demerger documents by APMM and notice of the extraordinary general meeting, which is proposed for 26 April. The first day of trading and official listing of shares of Svitzer Group on Nasdaq Copenhagen is expected on 30 April 2024.

Additional information published by APMM indicates an improving financial picture over the previous two years for Svitzer. In 2023, revenue was US$839 million and EBITDA US$246 million, compared to US$774 million and US$229 million respectively in 2022. Svitzer’s consolidated 2023 annual report will be published on 26 February.

The current Svitzer executive management team of CEO Kasper Friis Nilaus and CFO Knud Winkler will also serve as the executive management team in the future company along with a published list of the new board of directors with the intention of proposing one or two additional independent candidates to join the Svitzer board at the AGM in 2025.

Long history

Svitzer itself is engaged in innovative technical developments but based on an illustrious history, its 4,400 employees, represent 55 nationalities manning and operating more than 400 vessels in 142 ports and 28 terminals worldwide.

Established in 1833 initially as a salvage company, it salvaged a steamship from the bottom of a Swedish lake and rebuilt it into its first steam-powered salvage vessel in 1860 before entering the towage business a decade later.

Expansion followed with expertise built up during times of war and including a part in the clearance of the Suez Canal in the UN-sponsored 1956 operation. Maersk Group became a majority shareholder in 1979, later acquiring the company.

Taking over other companies has been part of Svitzer’s journey to prominence, including that of Wijsmuller in 2001 and Adsteam Marine in 2007, collectively at the time adding nearly 300 vessels to its fleet and a presence in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Together with US-based Titan Salvage, the emergency response and wreck removal company Ardent was formed in 2015. Around five years later new contracts were no longer being accepted, heralding changes including the sale of its US OPA90 division to Royal Boskalis Westminster.

Its top management became the main shareholders in Ardent, whose headquarters moved from Houston to IJmuiden in the Netherlands.


This article is shared by courtesy of Maritime Journal

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Narjiss Ghajour

Editor-in-Chief of Maritime Professionals
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