CVC in final round for Trasmediterranea

The private equity firm is part of a Spanish consortium to acquire the state-owned passenger ferry company.

Bidding for the Spanish state-owned passenger ferry business Trasmediterranea has entered a final round, with only two groups still in the running to acquire the Mediterranean ferry business.

International private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is part of one of the two remaining consortia for the company, alongside Boluda, a Spanish shipping company based in Valencia. The second consortium comprises Spanish construction firm Acciona and the Mediterranean Savings Bank (Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo).

The CVC consortium is understood to have tabled an offer in the region of E240m for the state-owned business, which operates a number of passenger lines between the Spanish mainland, the Balearics and the Canary Islands. This offer was recently trumped by the Acciona consortium, which has offered E270m for the firm. The winning bid will also have to take into consideration E180m of debt, the consequence of a recent overhaul of the company’s fleet.

News of the privatisation was first announced last October by SEPI (Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales – State Company of Industrial Shares). The Spanish government has recently stated that it is looking to recoup at least E300m on the sale of Trasmediterranea, which reported net profits of E19m in 2001 from its fleet of 24 ships. The company has a net book value of E315m.

CVC Capital Partners declined to comment on its involvement in the auction process.