3i, ACP to refinance Scandlines after sale falls through: sources

FRANKFURT/LONDON Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:25am EDT

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FRANKFURT/LONDON (Reuters) - Ferry group Scandlines SCNDL.UL and its private equity owners are set to strike a deal with banks in coming weeks to refinance around 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in loans, after a sale of the company failed earlier this summer, several people familiar with the process said.

"The talks are at a very advanced stage," one of the sources said.

Lenders including Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N), ING (ING.AS), JP Morgan (JPM.N), Mizuho (8411.T), Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) and UBS (UBSN.VX) have lined up senior leveraged loans to replace debt expiring in 2015 and 2016. The financing is expected to be sold to leveraged loan investors in a syndication process, another source said.

DC Advisory is helping to arrange the debt package, one of the sources added.

Private equity firms 3i (III.L) and Allianz Capital Partners (ACP) (ALVG.DE) bought Scandlines for 1.5 billion euros 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.

In July, the investors put a sale process on ice after an offer from a remaining bidder, buyout group TPG TPG.UL, fell short of price expectations. Scandlines peer DFDS (DFDS.CO) and private equity group Star Capital had earlier dropped out of the auction.

3i, ACP, DC Advisory and the banks declined to comment.

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

In 2012, it saw a 6 percent rise in recurring EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) to 193 million euros, compared with 2011.

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. ($1 = 0.7546 euros)

(Editing by David Holmes)

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