Condor takeover ‘does not change our plans’

CONDOR FERRIES’ five-year plan remains unchanged after its takeover by Columbia Threadneedle and Brittany Ferries, according to its CEO Paul Luxon.

Condor CEO Paul Luxon (27408352)
Condor CEO Paul Luxon (27408352)

The deal was made official on Friday after regulators Cicra and the EUMR approved the deal with no caveats.

Columbia Threadneedle’s European Sustainable Infrastructure Fund, of which Condor is a part, targets an 8-10% internal rate of return over the long-term but Condor CEO Paul Luxon said the new owners had not interfered with the company’s long-term plans.

When asked how the rate would be achieved, Mr Luxon said Threadneedle would have to answer that question.

Threadneedle declined to comment.

Mr Luxon said there were gains to be had from a deeper collaboration with Brittany Ferries, however.

‘We’ve worked with Brittany Ferries over many years. We use their stevedoring business in Portsmouth.

‘We part-own the stevedoring business in St Malo and also we work together if one of us has an issue with a vessel the other company will accept transfer bookings.’

While the two businesses will remain separate, Mr Luxon had earmarked 35 areas, such as food supply chains and ship maintenance, where the two companies could mutually benefit from sharing wisdom.

Because Condor is self-funding, there had been no conversation about the new owners contributing funds.

Mr Luxon said it simply wasn’t necessary because the company already has £50m. ready to spend on a new ship.

While they have not settled on a ship, one prominent idea is to bring forward the replacement of the Goodwill freighter.

The replacement could be a ‘ropax’ or a freight vessel that could also transport passengers and would increase the fleet’s resilience because the Goodwill cannot carry passengers.

Mr Luxon said there were no new routes planned because, after conducting thorough reviews, there had been no viable options.

‘The core raison d’être for Condor Ferries is to service the islands with freight, passengers and island passengers for tourists and therefore the routes you’d look at, there aren’t any other obvious routes that are omitted by the five-route network that we have.’

The company says, however, it is always open to new routes should they become viable and has been evaluating contingency routes.

‘Before Christmas we did some port trials at Cherbourg and then in January and February we actually did use the port because it is a much bigger port with a much bigger harbour.

‘We’ll always be looking for flexibility but in principle, no, we are not looking for new routes as such. That would be a core diversion from serving the Channel Islands.’

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