3i, ACP consider putting Scandlines sale on ice - source

FRANKFURT, July 5 Fri Jul 5, 2013 4:47am EDT

FRANKFURT, July 5 (Reuters) - Private equity firms 3i and Allianz Capital Partners may put the auction of ferry group Scandlines on hold after failing to agree on a price with the remaining bidder, a person familiar with the process said.

ACP and 3i are seeking 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion) for the Baltic ferry operator while another private equity investor TPG is offering only 1.3 billion euros, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

3i, ACP and TPG declined to comment.

Separately, the chief executive of Scandlines peer DFDS told Danish news agency Ritzau that he was still interested in taking over activities from Scandlines despite having officially dropped out of the auction last week.

3i and ACP paid 1.5 billion euros for Scandlines at the peak of the buyout boom in 2007, backed with 1.28 billion euros of debt, according to Thomson Reuters LPC data. Another minority investor in the deal was bought out in 2010.

Scandlines, established in 1998, carries passengers and freight between Denmark, Germany and Sweden. In 2012, it had 11.7 million passengers, 2.7 million cars and 0.8 million cargo units.

An undersea road and rail tunnel being planned for 2020 between Denmark and Germany could reduce passenger numbers on one of the group's busiest routes.

In 2012, it saw a 6 percent rise in recurring EBITDA to 193 million euros, compared with 2011.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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