Condor Ferries race down to one

04 November 2019 - 12:00 am UTC

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) has shortlisted just one bidder, Brittany Ferries, in the sale of its UK ferry operator Condor Ferries, two sources close said.

Both sources said the Australian investor is in talks only with Brittany Ferries, which operates ferry routes connecting England and Ireland with France and Spain.

MIRA, which owns Guernsey-headquartered Condor via Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II, declined to comment. Brittany Ferries, which is headquartered in Roscoff in Brittany, declined to comment.

The move follows submission of four non-binding offers for Condor in recent weeks, one source close said. DWS submitted an NBO, another source close said. Arcus – previously linked to the deal – eventually decided not to take part, as reported. DWS and Arcus declined to comment.

Several sources said that MIRA has relatively high price expectations for Condor that most bidders could not match.

MIRA, which declined to comment on valuation, paid a 10-12 times EBITDA multiple for Condor in 2008, although prices in the sector have risen sharply recently. In 2017 Infracapital sold Isle of Wight ferry operator Red Funnel to several pension funds for an 18 times EBITDA multiple, as reported.

Brittany Ferries is in a consortium with an unnamed infrastructure fund, as reported. It is the third time it has formed a consortium for Condor Ferries after previous joint ventures with USS first and later Dalmore collapsed earlier in the current sale process.

Owning Condor Ferries jointly with Brittany Ferries could be difficult for an infrastructure fund because Brittany Ferries is likely to want to control the business, leaving any co-shareholder without any say on the Condor management team, a source previously told Inframation. Brittany is also a strategic investor and therefore unlikely to want to sell for many years.

Read more