DFDS Expands in the Med with Turkish Freight Operator

U.N. Ro-Ro vesselImage Courtesy: U.N. Ro-Ro

Danish shipping and logistics company DFDS has signed an agreement to acquire 98.8% of Turkey’s largest operator of freight shipping routes, U.N. Ro-Ro.

The company will acquire U.N. Ro-Ro from Turkish private equity firms Actera Group and Esas Holdings for EUR 950 million (USD 1.17 billion) on a debt free basis, which will be mainly funded through committed debt financing.

DFDS said that the acquisition is expected to be earnings accretive already in 2018. According to data provided by VesselsValue, the acquisition will take DFDS up to being the third largest Ro-Ro operator with 32 vessels, featuring 424,500 dwt.

“With the acquisition of U.N. Ro-Ro, we are expanding into one of Europe’s most attractive freight markets which is operationally similar to northern Europe. This gives us opportunity together with the existing strong management team to leverage our network, fleet, experience and skills to develop the business further while supporting the growth of U.N. Ro-Ro’s customers,” Niels Smedegaard, CEO of DFDS, said.

The transaction is subject to approval by the Turkish, Austrian and German competition authorities as well as Italian authorities in relation to the transfer of the Trieste terminal as a strategic asset. Closing of the transaction is expected to take place in June 2018.

U.N. Ro-Ro operates five freight shipping routes in the Mediterranean between Turkey and EU, four of which connect to Italy and one to France. The routes carried 202,000 freight units in 2017 corresponding to a 34% share of the total market including land transport. By the end of 2017, U.N. Ro-Ro deployed 12 freight ferries with an average age of 11 years.

In addition, U.N. Ro-Ro operates two port terminals and also provides intermodal solutions. For 2018, revenue of EUR 240 million and EBITDA of EUR 97 million are expected.

In view of the planned fleet renewal, in both DFDS and U.N. Ro-Ro, and potential investment opportunities during the next 12-18 months, the Board of Directors recommended a share issue of approximately 5% of the current share capital or DKK 1 billion (USD 166 million) as part of the financing structure that otherwise consists of committed term loan financing.

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