Mergers and Acquisitions

ARTCO To Assume Control Of TPG Assets

In an agreement that was finalized October 30 but is only now being publicly disclosed, American River Transportation Company (ARTCO) agreed to operate all the assets of TPG Mt. Vernon Marine LLC. The agreement was described as a five-year lease with an option to buy.

ARTCO is a major operator on the North American waterway network.  For almost 50 years, ARTCO has operated fleets, boats, barges, drydocks and terminals throughout the river system, along with a stevedoring business in New Orleans. ARTCO is a wholly owned subsidiary of agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), one of the world’s largest agricultural processors and food ingredient providers and a Fortune 500 company.

The TPG assets to be managed include 13 towboats and operations in Jeffersonville, Mt. Vernon and West Franklin, Ind.; Louisville and Uniontown and along the Green River in Kentucky; and Chicago, Ill. The Mt. Vernon shipyard includes two drydocks and two Sennebogen cranes, and the Chicago yard includes three drydocks.

TPG Marine Enterprises LLP, which performs marine and logistics consulting services, will remain independent.

The oldest towboat in the fleet is the 720 hp. Jeffrey-Lynn, built by Humboldt Boat Service in 1968; the youngest are the 1,200 hp. McKenzie M and 1,200 hp. Brandi Ann, both built in 2011.

The other towboats include the 800 hp. Jacob Lane (built in 1972); the 800 hp. Capt. Bill (1978); the 1,200 hp. A.W. Bayer and 1,050 hp. Lois Elaine (1979); the 1,000 hp. Kevin Michael and 1,200 hp. William Jeffrey Bayer (1981); the 1,200 hp. Alexa Claire and Marty B (1982); the 1,200 hp. William Joseph (2009); and the mv. Mombo, 500 hp. truckable boat.

Don Miller, president and principal of TGP, will “continue to represent TPG going forward” and will stay on with the new entity as a consultant, according to an October 30 letter sent to TPG employees and signed by Miller and Jake Brodbeck, vice president of ADM.

Miller told The Waterways Journal that TPG was not initially looking to sell, but his TPG partner Dan Altmann, CEO and co-founder, was looking to retire. As the two discussed possibilities, they laid out parameters for any possible sale: any buyer “would have to be an American company with a solid reputation on the river, and large enough to weather ups and downs in the business cycle.”

The October 30 letter welcomed 188 employees of TPG to the ADM team. Miller said the transition was able to preserve all but four positions at TPG, a key consideration.

The letter concluded, “We’re excited to work with all of TPG’s current and former customers and look forward to meeting you soon.  ARTCO’s goal is to make sure that the excellent service TPG has provided in the past is maintained as your business grows.”