Vision Ridge Partners and Havila Holding complete privatisation of Fjord1
Vision Ridge Partners, an alternative asset manager focused on sustainable real assets, and Havila Holding have completed the privatisation of Fjord1, the owner and operator of a fleet of Norwegian ferries utilising low or zero emission propulsion.
Going forward, Fjord1 will be jointly owned by Vision Ridge Partners and Havila Holding, an investment company owned by the Sævik family in Norway, with each party holding 50 per cent ownership stakes.
Allianz Global Investors partially financed the acquisition and refinancing of the existing debt by providing approximately NOK 3 billion financing at the holding company level. This bespoke financing platform resulted in a meaningful interest rate reduction to the cost of the previous public bond.
Vision Ridge made its initial investment in Fjord1 in 2019. At that time, Fjord1's existing operational footprint included just a single electric ferry route. In just three years, the firm has become an industry leader in the Norwegian ferry electrification industry, having transitioned 50 per cent of its operating fleet to electric, expanded to 38 routes and completed the largest and most complex new-build program in its history, culminating in the delivery of 32 electric vessels. As of 30 June, 2021, over 70 per cent of the new electric vessels were operating in the water, and by the end of 2021, all 32 are expected to be live and providing transport throughout Norway.
“We are proud of our partnership with Fjord1 and the Sævik family,” says Reuben Munger, Managing Partner of Vision Ridge Partners. “Collectively, we saw an opportunity for the firm to become an industry leader in ‘green’ maritime as Norway forges ahead with its goal of zero emissions in its fjord regions by 2026. The sheer size and complexity of this transaction required a creative financing structure, and we are thrilled to empower future growth and additional fleet transformation at Fjord1.”
Fjord1 is the largest player in Norway’s ferry network, a critical component of the country’s infrastructure, serving approximately 50 per cent of all passengers. The firm leads the sector in profitability, fleet size and sustainable technology.
“The privatisation of Fjord1 is a significant milestone for the firm and will ensure that it can continue to grow its leadership position and further increase its sustainability impact in the years to come,” says Vegard Sævik, Chairman of Fjord1. “By partnering with Vision Ridge, we have been able to access their extensive experience at the nexus of new mobility and electrification and position Fjord1 to be at the forefront of the transition to sustainable transportation.”
“We are delighted to have worked with Vision Ridge Partners and Havila Holding to support the rationalisation of Fjord1’s ownership structure, and look forward to supporting Fjord1’s position as a key provider of critical Norwegian coastal infrastructure,” says Jemima Atkins, who led the execution of the investment for Allianz Global Investors’ Infrastructure Debt platform.