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PEARL SEAWAYS  © Maritime Photographic

PEARL SEAWAYS © Maritime Photographic

DFDS to sell Oslo-Frederikshavn-Copenhagen route to Gotlandsbolaget

FerryDFDS will sell mini-cruise route between Norway and Denmark to Swedish shipping company Gotlandsbolaget. The decision will ensure that the route receives the future focus and investments needed to further develop, while DFDS strengthens the focus on its core business within freight, passenger transport and logistics. The sale price is around DKK 400m.

Today, DFDS has announced that the route between Oslo, Frederikshavn and Copenhagen (OFC) will be sold to Gotlandsbolaget. The sale includes the two vessels deployed on the route, port agreements and terminal equipment. As part of the sale, approximately 800 employees in route operations and support functions will also move to Gotlandsbolaget. 

“The route is a part of our history and heritage, and it is with a heavy heart that we have found a new home for the route and will be saying goodbye to a lot of valued colleagues. We have determined this to be the best way forward for all. We have grown and developed significantly over the years, and the route deserves to be in the hands of an owner with cruise experience as a core part of their strategy going forward. We are happy to have found that with Gotlandsbolaget,” says Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.  

The OFC route is first and foremost a cruise experience route carrying more than 700.000 passengers between Norway and Denmark every year. The route fits well with Gotlandsbolaget’s strategic focus.

"We see great potential in this business. The route is performing well today, and together with our new colleagues, we will both work to ensure continuity and develop the product. This is yet another step in our strategic direction to expand in passenger shipping", says Håkan Johansson, CEO of Gotlandsbolaget.  

Enabling strategic focus on core business  

The sale of the OFC route reflects DFDS’ strategic focus on providing transport and logistics services using combinations of ferry, road, and rail transport.  

DFDS’ ferry transport network hereafter consists of freight-only routes in the Mediterranean and on the North Sea and combined freight and passenger routes on the Baltic Sea, between the Netherlands and the UK, on the English Channel and on the Strait of Gibraltar. The ferry transport network is complemented by DFDS’s European wide road and rail transport network and logistics services. 

“The decision to sell the OFC route has been difficult. We believe it is the right decision and right timing for both the route and DFDS. Going forward we will focus on our core business activities within freight, logistics and transport passengers as we continue to execute on our Moving Together Towards 2030 strategy unlocking the potential of our transportation network,” says Torben Carlsen.  

The two vessels – CROWN SEAWAYS and PEARL SEAWAYS - will not be reflagged in connection with the transaction and no layoffs are planned as part of the transfer of the route. 

When the transaction is finalised, DFDS will have 21 Danish-flagged vessels employing around 1.100 seafarers. In addition, DFDS employs over 1.000 people across more than 10 land-based offices, terminals and logistics sites in Denmark. After the transaction DFDS in total employs 13.200 people.  

The sale price is around DKK 400m and the agreement which also includes a potential earn-out payment is expected to be closed in October 2024. 

The completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions while no regulatory approval conditions apply.   

Gotlandsbolaget has a clear goal of offering climate-neutral travel between Gotland and the mainland by 2045, and work on next-generation ships, now focusing on Horizon X, a high-speed catamaran that can run on hydrogen. The line between Oslo and Copenhagen will also be operated with high ambitions for the future, where the first steps will be to optimize existing vessels.

In this transaction Fearnley Securities AS is acting as the financial advisor and Bech-Bruun is acting as legal advisor to Gotlandsbolaget.

Jun 10 2024

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