American Vision Ridge focused on solar power, car chargers, and Scottish salmon. Now they are completing the acquisition of the ferry company Fjord1 with ship owner Per Sævik.
Fjord1 is filed with the Oslo Stock Exchange, after ship owner Per Sævik and Havila Holding completed the privatization of the ferry company with their American partner, Vision Ridge.
The remaining minor shareholders in Fjord1 were forcibly commissioned at NOK 52 at the end of July, corresponding to an equity valuation of NOK 5.2 billion.
We bought our first stock in Fjord1 in 2019, then contacted the Sævik family to hear their views on the future, Reuben Munger, managing partner at Vision Ridge, tells E24.
In the past 18 months, Vision Ridge has invested nearly NOK 2 billion in Fjord1, primarily through loans to the Sævik family to fund the latter’s share purchases.
“Part of this will be paid back to us, in connection with the fact that we now share the property equally between us,” Munger says.
The alliance between Sævik and Vision Ridge, which secured previous control of Fjord1 at the end of 2019, made then-shop owner Frederick W. Mohn react.
According to DN Mohn reacted, among other things, to the fact that the other owners had not been notified in advance.
A few months later, Mohn chose to sell all of his shares to Sævik for a total of NOK 877 million, stating to E24 that “the two parties are separated as friends”.
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Munger and its partners manage approximately NOK 22 billion in three funds and associated investments.
The goal is to achieve a strong return and positive environmental impact by investing in what is called “real sustainable capital”.
The Fjord1 was interesting as an investment object due to the company’s upcoming major investment in eco-friendly, battery-powered ferries.
After completing an extensive new build program in recent years, half of the Fjord1 fleet will be electric by the end of the first half of 2021.
– We are proud of our partnership with Fjord1 and the Sævik family. Together, we saw an opportunity for the company to become a leader in the green part of the marine industry, at a time when Norway is moving towards the goal of zero emissions in fjord regions by 2026, says Munger.
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It is not excluded that Vision Ridge will make more investments in Norway in the future.
Norway’s leadership in the green transition is incredibly interesting, and we’ve spent a lot of time looking for opportunities in this region, says Munger.
Why do you think the oil state of Norway was given such a role?
It probably has a lot to do with your having good access to clean hydroelectric power, as well as your leading position in marine services. Historically, this has been aimed at the oil industry, but it will also be important in the transition to wind energy, Munger says.
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Last year, it sold the Vision Ridge of EVgo, the largest network of electric vehicle charging stations in the United States, as well as Tesla, which has its own.
Current investments in sectors such as solar energy, waste management and sustainable agriculture. Vision Ridge also owns Scottish salmon farm Loch Duart.
“By collaborating with Vision Ridge, we have gained access to their extensive experience in new mobility and electrification, and have made Fjord1 a leading player in the transition to sustainable transportation,” Fjord1 Chairman, Vigaard Civic, wrote in a press release.
In connection with the acquisition, Fjord1 has secured new debt financing from Allianz Global Investors worth NOK 3 billion.
We’re talking about a rate cut of close to one percentage point compared to the terms the company previously had for bond financing, Munger says.
Fjord1 is Norway’s largest ferry company, operating 38 routes along the coast. To date, 22 of the total 32 new battery ferries have been delivered and are in operation, and the environmental situation will be further improved when the remaining 10 ferries are delivered during 2021.
When do you expect the fleet to be fully electric?
– The company must deliver what the customers want, and we see that the environmental requirements are increasing all the time. In the long run, the entire fleet will have an emission profile that is either zero or close to zero. For example, there will be a bidding round for hydrogen ferries in Bodo, which we expect to participate in. And the customer is largely in control of the choice of technology, Munger says.
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