'Business as usual' at Condor after sale with Liberation remaining part of the fleet
THE Condor Liberation ship is set to remain in service after Condor Ferries is sold with the business being run as a separate company to incoming part-owner Brittany Ferries.
In a ‘business as usual’ message, Condor chief executive Paul Luxon set out broad plans as to how the company – which runs ferries between the UK, France and the Channel Islands – would operate after its sale by Macquarie to Columbia Threadneedle Investments and Brittany Ferries.
Describing himself as ‘genuinely delighted’ about the sale, which is likely to be completed in a few months after regulatory requirements, Mr Luxon said it was good news because the new owners shared Condor’s strategy of investing for the long term.
Columbia and Brittany would be supporting Condor’s existing business plan, which was based around improvements as well as discussions with Jersey and Guernsey’s governments around future fleet investment. Condor also already had an operating agreement with the two islands around fleet, routes, frequency and fares.
The new owners, though, could naturally provide future direction to the management team as they got to understand Condor Ferries more, said Mr Luxon with the possibility of new opportunities developing over time.
Asked if Condor Ferries would become part of Brittany Ferries, he said: ‘No changes. So no changes to the company name.
‘Condor Ferries is completely separate to Brittany Ferries and will stay that way. Brittany Ferries is owned by different shareholders. Brittany Ferries’ investment is a minority investment.’
Mr Luxon added: ‘No doubt over time best practices may well be shared. But fundamentally they are two separate businesses. They will be going forward. No rebranding, no changes. Condor Ferries is the Channel Islands operator and that’s how it will continue.’
There would no changes in staffing numbers or the management team either. ‘The investors again have acquired the business on the basis of the business as it stands, the operation, the services that it delivers, the management team, the business plan that the management team are progressing.’
Asked if it was a case of the Liberation sailing off into the sunset, the Condor Ferries chief executive said: ‘Why would we? She carries hundreds of thousands of people a year. She is part of the fleet.
‘I accept that people have got different views about different vessels in our fleet. But the answer is that we already have dialogue under way around the next investment in the fleet.
‘Those strategic discussions around the fleet going forward, they will continue over the next few months.
‘There are no plans as a result of this [sale] in terms of fleet change. It’s business as usual. It’s an existing business that has run for 72 years that delivers lifeline services for freight, for passengers and for tourism and that’s what the investors have bought into.’