Red Funnel for Sale

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Red Funnel is for sale for a reported £250 million, nine years after it was sold for £200 million.

The current ferry company’s owner is an infrastructure investment arm of the Prudential. Infracapital has been owner of Red Funnel for nine years.

Australian investment bank that deals in venture capital, Macquarie, which owned Wightlink before Balfour Beatty and sold it two years ago, is to handle the deal.

Prudential bought Red Funnel from the company’s management team and the HBOS bank who had paid £100 million.

It had previously been sold by Associated British Ports to JP Morgan for £71 million in 2000.

The company is presently involved in a planning argument over its East Cowes terminal.

The private ferry companies servicing the Isle of Wight since passing out of public ownership have made huge profit out of the routes. When Macquarie owned Wightlink they set up a huge debt to itself and maintains control over Wightlink finance in cahoots with Balfour Beatty. They have persisted in taking more out of the local economy than has ever been put in. Australians call Macquarie the “Vampire Kangaroo”, as they suck the blood out of companies by claiming most out of their added value.

The ferry companies are also one of the largest takers out of the tourist economy. The cost to the local economy because of the price for visitors and the knock-on effect for local small businesses is very high indeed.

Part of the problem is the restricted claim on the product both socially and the workers who work for them and crew the ships. Workers have had their jobs sacrificed and because of minimum staff, the service as well as safety, has been compromised. It has proven that labour is not a “cost” but a source of added value and has the right to claim against the product by their wages and pensions.

Since the phenomenal pricing and cut backs in timetables their have been demands for a return to public ownership either through Government or Local Authority. Recently there have been calls for ownership through other investments.

The Rights of freedom of movement and investment in connectivity to the mainland is widely debated these days and an issue that must be resolved in favour of local residents in particular.

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