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From today's Lloyds List

GERMAN shipping company Deutsche Seereederei, Allianz Capital Partners and Danish pension fund LD Equity are seeking to buy ferry operator Scandlines.

The three have set up a consortium, Baltic Ferry Development Group, to bid for the company, which is owned by the Danish Transport Ministry and the German government-controlled Deutsche Bahn.

Last October, both governments agreed to sell the company to a third party after years of disagreement over its operations.

“We believe that we have a sustained and long-term concept,” said DSR board member and consortium spokesman Arno Pöker.

He declined to give details of how much the group was willing to pay or the financial burden each partner was prepared to take.

Industry sources put the value of Scandlines at €600m-€ 1bn ($763m-$1.3bn). Up to 30 parties are interested in the company.

“It is our strategic goal to make Scandlines an integrated European shipping and tourism company with a leading role in the Baltic region,” Mr Pöker said.

This would include organic growth in freight and passenger business through investment in new ships as well as the modernisation of the existing fleet of 25 ships trading mainly between Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

The consortium also has its eye on new services to northern and eastern destinations.

“One of the most interesting growth markets is the connection between Germany and Finland,” Mr Pöker added. Eventually, Scandlines could become a provider of mini cruises, he added.

The introduction of new services should also offset declining business between Puttgarden and Rodby, which would follow the proposed construction of a bridge connecting the islands of Fehmarn in Germany and Lolland in Denmark.

“The construction of the Fehmarn Belt Crossing will be a great challenge to any future owner,” Mr Pöker said.

Last year, Scandlines saw total sales of €523m, carrying about 20m passengers and more than 1m lorries.
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