ABN AMRO Capital backs ferry MBO

The UK arm of the dutch bank's private equity unit has backed the buyout of Commodore Group.

The UK arm of ABN AMRO Capital, has backed the management buyout of Commodore Group, the major passenger and freight carrier between the UK and the Channel Islands  The value of this transaction was not disclosed. Debt financing was provided by Royal Bank of Scotland.

Commodore Group is a family controlled business and runs Commodore Ferries, Condor Ferries and Commodore Express. It is the leading provider of freight services to the Channel Islands. The Group also operates a joint venture passenger ferry service with Brittany Ferries between Poole and Cherbourg.

The existing management participated in the MBO and a statement issued also said that this team will be joined by a new chairman 'who is expected to be appointed shortly.'

The Dutch banking giant has recently rationalised its private equity and related operations, withdrawing from Asia and disbanding its UK mezzanine unit. Instead it is focussing on European opportunities and has offices in the UK, Netherlands, France, Italy, Germany, Scandinavia, Belgium and Spain. Total funds under management stand at E2.3bn, of which the vast majority (E1.9bn) is provided by ABN AMRO and the balance coming from third parties.

The UK team at ABN AMRO Capital led the public to private of Perkins Foods plc in 2000 and the management buyout of Accantia, formerly the personal care division of Smith & Nephew.   The team are keen to participate in transactions of up to £500 million and say they can can underwrite up to £200 million of equity investment for buy-outs, expansion capital and public to private deals.