Scandlines Owners Said to Mull Deferring Sale on Low Bids

Scandlines Owners Said to Mull Deferring Sale Following Low Bids
Scandlines, which operates ferries between Denmark and Germany, face new competition from 2021, when the two countries plan to complete a rail tunnel beneath the Fehmarn Belt strait. Photographer: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

The owners of Scandlines, 3i Group Plc and Allianz Capital Partners GmbH, are considering deferring a sale of the Danish-German ferry operator after bids fell short of expectations, people familiar with the matter said.

TPG Capital made an offer that values Scandlines at about

1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion) while the owners are seeking

1.4 billion euros, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. TPG is the only remaining bidder after Star Capital Partners Ltd. dropped out, one of the people said. Danish ferry operator DFDS A/S already said June 24 that it’s no longer bidding.

TPG and the Scandlines owners are still in talks to find an agreement, the people said. Should the negotations fail, the owners may refinance the company, which is based in Copenhagen and Rostock, and restart the sale attempt later this year, the people said. Representatives for 3i, Allianz Capital, TPG and Star Capital declined to comment.

Scandlines, which operates ferries between Denmark and Germany, face new competition from 2021, when the two countries plan to complete a rail tunnel beneath the Fehmarn Belt strait. 3i and Allianz, which each own 49 percent with management holding the rest, hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and ING Groep NV to advise and finance a sale.

Rising Earnings

The two private-equity investors, along with shipping company Deutsche Seereederei GmbH, agreed in 2007 to jointly acquire Scandlines from Germany’s national rail operator Deutsche Bahn AG and the Danish government for 1.56 billion euros. 3i and Allianz Capital Partners bought out Deutsche Seereederei’s stake in 2010.

Scandferries Group, the holding company for Scandlines, increased earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization by 27 percent to 212 million euros last year. Sales stayed almost unchanged at 608 million euros after the company sold its Baltic freight routes. The company forecast that revenue and net income will grow as much as 5 percent this year and next.

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