Tallink Grupp sale moving to active stage
The sale process of Estonian maritime transportation group Tallink Grupp [TAL:TAL1T] is progressing to an active stage, two sources briefed on the situation, and two bankers following the situation, said.
Information memorandums (IMs) have already been circulated, the first source briefed and a banker following said. Non-disclosure agreements were already signed, the second banker added.
It will be clear towards the end of January which bidders are proceeding to due diligence phase, according to the second source briefed. Indicative bids are expected on 25 or 26 January, the first source added.
EUR 743.6m-market cap Tallink announced in July it had mandated Citigroup Global Markets as its financial advisor to explore potential strategic options for the company. These could include attracting new core investors, potentially leading to some of the existing shareholders divesting their shares voluntarily, or through a mandatory takeover offer, the company said at the time.
Tallink and Citigroup declined to comment.
The sale process of Tallink runs on a very similar timeline to German-Danish ferry operator Scandlines, the first source briefed added. This news service reported earlier this month, citing sources, that IMs for Scandlines are expected in January, while the process is being led by Rothschild. Some of the same bidders are expected to consider bidding in 3i Group’s sale of Scandlines as a better asset than Tallink, since it has been in private equity hands for 10 years, the first source briefed said. Tallink, on the other hand, still has significant operational improvements to be made, the source added.
Tallink is generating significant interest among both financial and strategic players, both sources briefed said. Logical bidders for Tallink would include classic infrastructure funds such as UK-based Terra Firma, Arcus Infrastructure Partners, First State Investments or the US-based Morgan Stanley [NYSE:MS], the first source briefed added.
Terra Firma, Arcus, First State and Morgan Stanley all declined to comment.
Tallink reported revenue of EUR 938m in 2016, down from EUR 945m in 2015. Its EBITDA stood at EUR 149m in 2016, down from EUR 181m in 2015. Its net profit was EUR 44m last year, compared to EUR 59m in 2015.
The company operates a fleet of 14 vessels and provides leisure and business travel, and sea transportation services in the Baltic Sea region. It has a EUR 1.5bn asset base and employs around 7,000 personnel.
The largest Tallink shareholder is Estonian investment holding Infortar with a 38% stake, followed by Baltic Cruises Holding with 16.1% and Baltic Cruises Investment with a 5.5% stake. Baltic Cruises Holding and Baltic Cruises Investment, together with another of Tallink’s shareholders Citigroup Venture Capital International Growth Partnership (Employee) II L.P. (2.1% stake), announced in July that they had agreed to sell a proportionate percentage of their investments together in any deal. The Citigroup Venture fund granted the Baltic vehicles a right of first refusal on any outside share sale.
by Philippa Wilkinson, Agne Mazeike and Kasper Viio