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Condor keeps ferry purchase details confidential

Condor keeps ferry purchase details confidential

Tuesday 14 March 2023

Condor keeps ferry purchase details confidential

Tuesday 14 March 2023

Confidentiality clauses mean most of the details about the purchase of Condor's new conventional ferry - through a co-investment with the Guernsey Investment Fund - are likely to be kept a secret, despite P&R shifting £5million into a new 'infrastructure' cell within the GIF.

The ferry firm announced last week that it has bought a new vessel - the 125m MV Straitsman - but it hasn't revealed how much it cost.

It did confirm that the vessel was bought jointly between the ferry firm and the Guernsey Investment Fund - which the States of Guernsey is an investor in.

Neither the States nor the GIF would say how much of an investment the States has made in it via the Fund while Condor has been similarly tight-lipped about Guernsey's investment.

In response to further questions from Express about the new purchase, Condor would only say: 

"As previously stated, the vessel has been jointly purchased by Condor and the Guernsey Investment Fund. Any other details are bound by confidentiality which is standard practice in commercial agreements."


Pictured: The MV Straitsman was bought jointly by Condor Ferries and the Guernsey Investment Fund.

The Fund is a 'Closed Ended Scheme' which is defined as one where your investment is locked in for a specified period of time. It was launched in 2018, when the States put in an initial £25m of tax payers money. That went in to a cell focused on investing in technology. 

A second cell was launched the following year investing in property, which the States put £40m in to.

Following questions from Express the States confirmed on Friday that £5m has recently gone into a new cell launched by the GIF to focus on infrastructure. The President of P&R, Deputy Peter Ferbrache, suggested last year that a new ferry could be bought through a States' investment fund, bypassing the need for States approval on the expense.

A spokesperson for the States also told Express that no further information would be issued saying that "The Guernsey Investment Fund is a commercial entity and a professionally managed fund. It is a matter of public record that the Guernsey Investment Fund is one of the funds in which the States of Guernsey has invested. The vessel has been purchased by the fund, not by the States of Guernsey, and is therefore a commercial matter between the fund and Condor".

While no one will confirm what the new ferry has cost, Condor has previously published the purchase prices of its vessels. 

In 2015 when the Liberation was launched to much fanfare, it was reported by local media that it had cost £50m while news reports from 1999 placed the value of the Commodore Clipper at US$48 million.

In November last year, Condor CEO John Napton said a new ferry would cost between £15m and £20m, adding that the firm was "in discussions with Guernsey’s government about part-financing a ship". 

It is therefore likely that the new conventional ferry has cost tens of millions of pounds, with the States of Guernsey possibly being a minority shareholder.

condor liberation voyager

Pictured: The Condor Liberation was reported to have cost £50m when it was bought in 2015. 

The MV Straitsman is currently in New Zealand but will be brought to the Channel Islands to "improve capacity, resilience and connectivity between the island’s, the UK and France from the autumn".

The vessel was previously owned by StraitNZ - "an integrated transport network of Freight Forwarding and Linehaul road freight and Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferries' freight and passenger services".

A year ago an arm of the company - formerly known as Strait Shipping - was bought by Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners for a reported NZ$500m (the ferry was included in the sale).

Strait Shipping had previously been part owned by Macquarie; which formerly owned Condor Ferries, an Australian-based Champ Private Equity Group; which was registered in Guernsey prior to being dissolved in December 2021. 


Pictured: The Guernsey Investment Fund has interests in many different businesses, including the online beauty giant all   

It's not only the new ferry purchase which is wrapped in secrecy - with the GIF also refusing to make any comment on the number of redundancies recently made at

The online firm is headquartered in Guernsey but up to 50% of its locally based staff were recently laid off. Despite repeated requests, Express has received no answer to numerous questions seeking to find out how many people this affected. A query lodged through the GIF was responded to with a short statement saying no comment would be made.

The GIF became heavily involved with in 2021 when it launched a joint venture with the online firm's then owner. 

The GIF had already been a minority shareholder in but the merger deal was announced alongside reported plans for "expansion through acquisition". A number of new investors were linked with the online firm then. 

A former member of staff told Express that a number of changes were instigated following the merger deal but they resulted in up to half of the staff being made redundant already this year.


Redundancies at online giant

Guernsey Investment Fund launches property cell

More than £4m. committed by Guernsey Investment Fund

Investment head steps down

Allbeauty to expand after significant investment

Lessons learnt from Jersey's Innovation Fund as Guernsey launches Investment Fund

Investment Fund launches for new innovators

Investment Fund welcomed by Guernsey Finance

Next Generation IT receives significant investment

Investment Fund nears £15 million

States to challenge Condor over ferry service to the island 

PODCAST: P&R chief wants to inject "hope and aspiration" into housing

Growing calls for a States' debate before spending £15-20m on a ferry 

Next step in possible ferry purchase is for States to agree how to fund it

States pull out of ferry purchase



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