Wightlink Ferries has a new owner. Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners LP (BBIP) has purchased the company from Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund (MEIF) for an undisclosed sum.
Chief Executive Russell Kew, Chief Operating Officer John Burrows, and their management team 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.
BBIP LLP Partner, Steven Lowry says: “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.”
Russell Kew says: “Wightlink has a strong and secure future with its new shareholders, which is good news for the company, our customers and our staff. We look forward to working with BBIP to grow the business in years to come.”
The announcement was quickly followed by a statement from Isle of Wight competitor Red Funnel as follows.
Responding to the news of Wightlink’s sale, 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.
At Easter, the vehicle ferry Red Osprey will return to service following her £2.2m refurbishment to match Red Falcon which was upgraded in 2014. Red Funnel is also continuing to make significant investments in its people, in technology to enhance the customer experience, and in its infrastructure."