independent

Monday 16 September 2019

Strong interest in ferry company

Passage East car ferry
Passage East car ferry

David Looby

There have been strong expressions of interest in purchasing Passage East car ferry company, which has operated between Ballyhack and Passage East for many years.

Passage East Ferry Company, one of Ireland's most established domestic ferry services, is for sale with a prospectus issued to potential buyers.

The company employs 16 full-time staff, all of whom are unaffected by the sale.

The sale includes a 28-vehicle ferry and a commercial premises with offices, stores and a storage yard covering 242sqm at Barrack Street, Passage East, County Waterford.

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 - seven days a week - making an average of 106 sailings per day, increasing to 112 during the summer months.

The company accounts show consistently strong revenue levels over the past five years, with turnover in the region of €1.6 million per annum.

Revenue grew by almost 5 per cent in 2015 with an additional 2.5 per cent expected growth this year.

This growth comes as passenger volumes increased by 5.4 per cent in 2015 with strong tourism and commercial activities in the South East.

The Passage East Ferry is used by commuters travelling between Waterford and Wexford for work all year round, with an increase in tourist traffic during peak summer months. The five-minute ferry journey is estimated to save 90 minutes journey time for round trip commuters.

The company will be sold as a going concern and the decision to sell comes as founding shareholder, Derek Donnelly, retires from the business. FBD Holdings plc holds a 70 per cent share in the business, arising out of a legacy investment. The company is considered non-core to FBD.

The sale process is being managed by leading business advisory specialists Crowe Horwath.

According to Naoise Cosgrove, Managing Partner at Crowe Horwath, the sale of Passage East Ferry Company is an opportunity for interested parties to acquire a profitable business that provides a vital service in the region.

Mr Cosgrave said: 'This sale will generate significant interest, both in the domestic and international markets, and represents a unique opportunity to acquire a long-established business.'

He said Passage East Ferry Company boasts a strong trading history, solid revenues, growing EBITDA and clear potential for further growth fuelled by economic and tourism activity in the region, which remains on an upward trajectory.

'This will interest investors seeking a profitable and cash generative investment," he said.

He added: '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.'

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