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American Shipper

AIG Global set to buy Marine Terminals Corp.

AIG Global set to buy Marine Terminals Corp.

Highstar Harbor Holdings III Inc., a subsidiary of AIG Highstar Capital, has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase 100 percent of the privately held MTC Holdings, parent of port facility operator Marine Terminals Corp.

   Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

   AIG Highstar is a subsidiary of AIG Global Investment Group, a further subsidiary of insurance and holding company giant American International Group.

   'Thanks to the stewardship of Chris Redlich’s family, MTCH has grown to be a preeminent terminal operator and stevedore in the U.S., with significant growth potential in both the U.S. and Mexico,' said Christopher Lee, an AIGGIG managing director and the managing partner of Highstar. 'MTCH also has a first-rate management team, led by CEO Doug Tilden. We are pleased to have the opportunity to add MTCH to our diversified portfolio of North American port operators.”

   Tilden and the existing MTCH management team will continue to manage the business following its acquisition by Highstar.

   While the purchase still faces certain government approvals, MTC has begun notifying their employees of the sale. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., the privately held MTC has been looking for a potential buyer since late last year.

   'This business was founded by my grandfather in 1932,' said Christopher Redlich, chairman of the board of MTCH. 'We have brought the business a long way since that time. But, competition on a world scale requires more and more capital. We are glad that we could attract a well-capitalized investor like Highstar that wants to support this important domestic business.'

   MTC has stevedoring and terminal operations in more than 26 West Coast locations and six East Coast ports, handling a total of more than 6 million TEUs each year. MTC Holdings expanded globally in 2006, establishing MTC International and MTC de Mexico to bring its services and operations to ports around the world.

   AIG, headquartered in New York City, is the fourth-largest company in the world according to the 2006 Forbes Global 2000 list.

   This announcement came on the heels of AIG’s purchase earlier this year of the former U.S. port properties of Dubai Ports World, and further signals AIG’s intent to quickly create a national marine terminal business in an increasingly lucrative market. The financial services and insurance giant invested more than $1 billion, according to most industry estimates, to buy P&O Ports North America, which was concentrated on the East Coast. MTC would give Ports America a West Coast presence, and give it more service options to capture ocean carrier business.

   Last month, an affiliate of AIG Global Investment Group said it would purchase AMPORTS, a provider of port-side automotive processing services in North America.

   MTC and AMPORTS are expected to become part of Ports America, the new name given by AIG for the P&O marine terminal operating company.

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