The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has completed a financial restructuring, which significantly reduces its level of debt.
The restructuring has taken almost a year of negotiations with the Company’s syndicate of lenders. The restructure places the Company on a sound financial footing for the future, with a group of supportive shareholders and lenders, and has been achieved without the need for Government funding or support.
The restructure will allow the Company to concentrate on developing the passenger and freight markets to and from the Island with a range of initiatives. The Company recognises the importance of ensuring that shipping links are consistent with Government aims of providing the best possible range of services and prices for residents, visitors and businesses to support further development and growth of the Island’s economy.
At a time when many other similar services to islands or small communities are failing or need to be supported by state subsidy, it is a significant achievement for comprehensive Island ferry services to be firmly based on a principle where there is no external support required.
Looking further forward there will be a need for substantial new investment to ensure that the Island is served by modern and effective vessels. How this can be achieved will be discussed with Isle of Man Government in line with its wish to see the current User Agreement revised so that it is ‘fit for purpose’ in the years ahead.
Steam Packet Company Chairman Robert Quayle commented: ‘This is very good news for the Company and for the Island. It means that we can now plan for the future with confidence. Steam Packet services have been instrumental in the success and growth of events such as the TT and the commercial success of the Isle of Man retail sectors in recent times and it is essential that we are able to plan ahead, from a stable platform, to provide a comprehensive range of services to suit the Island’s longer term needs. Over the coming weeks and months we will be evaluating a number of initiatives aimed at developing our service.’
The Steam Packet Company is the oldest continuously operating ferry company in the world. It employs more than 300, mainly Manx-based, employees who contribute significantly to the Island’s economy. Its Management and Board are based in the Island and it remains committed to its obligations to provide essential passenger and freight services from the Isle of Man to the UK and Ireland under the User Agreement with Isle of Man Government.