Solent Ferry Operator Changes Hands

Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund (MEIF) has sold Wightlink Ferries, a cross-Solent operator connecting the Isle of Wight with England’s mainland, to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners LP (BBIP) for an undisclosed sum.

The existing management team will remain in charge of the company. Similarly, there will be no changes to staffing, pricing, routes or schedules as a result of the change of ownership, Wightlink Ferries reports.

BBIP LLP Partner Steven Lowry said: ”Wightlink is a strong and stable company with the opportunity to grow and develop in the years to come. We are delighted to be the new owners of the largest cross-Solent ferry operator and are committed to investing in the business, and supporting the management team’s focus on safety and improving customer service.”

Commenting on the sale, Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries, Wightlink’s main competition on the routes, issued a statement saying that the company remains fully committed to growing its Isle of Wight ferry services between Southampton and East and West Cowes.

Kevin George, CEO of Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries, said: ‘‘The sale of Wightlink Ferries to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners LLP has no bearing on Red Funnel’s strategy of delivering value for money services and an unrivalled cross-Solent travel experience. The company carried record numbers in 2014 as more customers than ever chose Red Funnel over its rivals. This trend is set to continue with more sailings confirmed for 2015 to accommodate growth in both freight and private vehicle traffic.”