'Strong interest' as Irish ferry company goes on the market
One of Ireland's long-established domestic ferry services, Passage East Ferry Company, was put up for sale yesterday.
The decision to put the company on the block comes in the wake of the retirement of its founding shareholder, Derek Donnelly. Mr Donnelly started the business with his son, Edward, in 1982. It provides one of the only direct links between Waterford and Wexford.
Insurance firm FBD Holdings holds a 70pc share in the business, arising out of a legacy investment. The company is considered non-core to FBD.
Along with 28 vehicles, the ferry can carry up to 130 passengers, connecting Waterford City with the Hook Peninsula in Wexford and operates throughout the year making an average of 106 sailings per day, increasing to 112 during the summer months.
The five-minute journey is estimated to save 90 minutes' journey time for round-trip commuters. The company employs 16 full-time staff, who will be unaffected by the sale.
Revenue expanded by almost 5pc to about €1.6m in 2015 with additional growth of 2.5pc expected this year. Earnings before deductions have also risen steadily and climbed to €587,000 in 2015, respresenting year-on-year growth of 30pc.
The sale process is being managed by accountancy firm and business advisory specialists Crowe Horwath.
Crowe Horwath managing partner Naoise Cosgrove said the business has attracted strong interest.
He said: "We have spoken to a number of parties with a strong interest. As with any campaign we will be marketing it widely to seek to maximise value. It should appeal to other operators as well as investors looking for a profitable and cash generative investment."