Date: Thursday, April 6, 2023
Source: Splash 24/7
It’s one of shipping’s most closely held secrets, up there with Greeks and the dark fleet, the true meaning of EEDI, defining an eco-ship, the hourly wage of a Burmese deckhand, and the full extent of the web of shipping interests of the Ofer family. Just how much is Switzerland’s richest man worth?
News that Gianluigi Aponte was one of the fastest-growing accumulators of wealth last year – as per a new billionaires survey carried by Forbes – was the most-read story on Splash yesterday.
The founder of Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), a cruise giant as well as the world’s largest containerline, Aponte saw his net worth grow by $14.4bn in the 12-month period through to March 10, according to Forbes.
The 82-year-old is placed in joint 43rd on the Forbes billionaires index with his wife, Rafaela, both with an estimated net worth of $31.2bn each.
Originally hailing from Naples, the secretive Apontes, who keep the financial results of Geneva-based MSC private, are reportedly three times as wealthy as the second-placed family in the latest rich list compiled by local media in Switzerland.
As to how much MSC actually made last year, analysts at Sea-Intelligence have run the numbers on the container side of the business for Splash.
Liner shipping, in which MSC has a leading 18.2% global market share, made a collective record earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of $220bn last year, according to Sea-Intelligence estimates.
“The major carriers that publish EBIT have a strongly correlated – r-squared of 90% – relationship between the size of their fleet and EBIT, and if we assume that this relationship also holds for MSC, then their 2022 EBIT would be around $36bn,” commented Alan Murphy, CEO of Sea-Intelligence.
The $36bn figure does not cover MSC’s cruise business. Putting the number in perspective, MSC’s liner business made approximately three times as much in EBIT as online retailer Amazon last year.
Moreover, despite plenty of doom and gloom headlines circling the liner industry in Q1, the billions could keep piling up for the Apontes this year.
A usually reliable source of container financial forecasts has made a call on 2023 fortunes for the liner industry, suggesting this year could be the third-best combined annual results in the history of the sector.
John McCown, whose Blue Alpha Capital quarterly liner profit reports have become essential reading during box shipping’s record earnings run since 2020, has forecast liner shipping will make a combined net income this year of $43.2bn on revenues of $327.bn. While this would mark an 80% drop over last year’s record profits, it would still prove to be another sensational year of earnings, helping to explain thew continued amassing of tonnage by carriers led by MSC in the first three months of 2023.
The EBIT liner shipping made in the three years – 2020, 2021, and 2022 – are more than the combined profits of the previous 63-year history of container shipping, according to analysis by Sea-Intelligence.