Montagu in £225m Isle of Man ferry sale

The mid-market private equity firm has agreed to sell The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, the 175 year-old ferry service, to Australia’s Macquarie Bank.

Montagu Private Equity, the UK-based mid-market investor, has sold The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, an operator of freight and passenger ferry services to and from the Isle of Man, to Australia’s Macquarie Bank for £225 million (€332 million; $400 million). 

The Steam Packet management has significantly developed and improved the business over the last two years

Simon Pooler, director, Montagu Private Equity

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is the sole provider of passenger, vehicle and freight services to the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish Sea, 60 miles west of Lancashire, England. As well as providing transport, the company delivers essential supplies to residents and businesses.

The firm is the oldest continuously operating passenger shipping service in the world and celebrated its 175th anniversary this year. The services link Douglas on the Isle of Man with Heysham and Liverpool in England, Belfast in Northern Ireland and Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.

Montagu acquired the ferry service from Sea Containers, the Bermuda-based transport, leisure and marine container leasing group, for around £150 million in July 2003.

Said Montagu’s Simon Pooler in a statement: “The Steam Packet management has significantly developed and improved the business over the last two years, establishing the ferry operator as a strong stand-alone business and enhancing the service to islanders through dedicating its fleet to servicing the Isle of Man.

“This has delivered better quality vessels and greater capacity for passengers and vehicles at sailing times to meet peak demand from residents.”

Macquarie Bank owns a number of community infrastructure assets around the world. Its UK-based infrastructure investments include PD Teesport, the country’s second-largest port; Birmingham and Bristol airports; and the M6 toll road.