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ISLE OF MAN: Steam Packet reduce debt

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has ‘significantly reduced its burden of debt, and can now plan for the future with confidence’, according to chairman Robert Quayle. With claims to being the world’s longest-established ferry operator, the Douglas-based company has restructured financially after a year of negotiations with lenders.

The Steam Packet, sold by Australian investment bank Macquarie to a consortium of banks headed by Banco Espirito Santo in 2011, describe the deal as significant, as it was achieved without the need for Manx government funding, allowing a focus on the development of passenger and freight markets.

Chairman Quayle said at the end of July that the debt reduction was very good news for both the company and the Isle of Man and puts the Steam Packet on a sound financial footing for the future. But he warns there will be a need for substantial new investment in modern vessels, and this will be raised in discussions with the Manx Government.

The Steam Packet’s principal route is the year-round Douglas-Heysham link maintained by ro-pax ferry Ben-My-Chree (1998/12,504gt), with seasonal support from 96m Incat Manannan.

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