One of shipping’s greatest secrets has been revealed. In bidding for Italian train operator Italo, Gianluigi Aponte’s Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC), a cruise and container shipping giant, has inadvertently let slip its financial results, figures that were quickly shared by eagle-eyed journalists at Il Messaggero, one of Italy’s top newspapers. 

Privately held MSC, which controls the world’s largest containerline, never makes it financial results public. However, the figures were leaked when it made its successful recent bid for a 50% stake in Italian passenger rail operator Italo.

The Geneva-based 53-year-old group made revenues last year of EUR86.4bn ($91.1bn), an EBITDA of EUR43.2bn, an EBIT of EUR35.7bn and a net profit of EUR36.2bn. This covers all of the group’s activities including liner, cruise, terminals, rail and air cargo. Putting the numbers in perspective, MSC made approximately three times as much in EBIT as online retailer Amazon last year. Or just as stunning, the group made a net profit of $104.6m per day all year long. According to the figures carried by Il Messaggero, the group has cash of EUR63bn and equity of EUR91bn. Medium-long term net debts stand at EUR26bn. 

Originally hailing from Naples, Aponte, now 83, founded MSC in 1970. His family is among the top 50 on the Forbes billionaires index.  The Apontes are three times as wealthy as the second-placed family in the latest rich list compiled by local media in Switzerland.

Liner shipping, in which MSC has a leading 19.5% global market share, made a collective record net income significantly north of $200bn last year, dwarfing profits made by the FANG quartet – namely tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google.

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