According to MANA, Privately owned MSC said it had held a meeting on Friday in Genoa with Messina and senior management from lender Banca Carige.
A source familiar with the matter said Banca Carige was Messina's key lender and also a major financier for Genoa-based shipping companies.
Founded in 1921, Messina has a small fleet of specialised ro-ro container ships, the company's website showed. MSC has close to a 14 percent global market share, according to data from leading consultancy Alphaliner.
The world's number one player Maersk announced in December it would buy German rival Hamburg Süd. This followed other sector deals including a proposed merger between German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Company.