An agreement has been signed for the acquisition of a group of New Zealand transport and shipping companies owned by the Barker family, in keeping with the wishes of the company’s founder.
Strait Shipping (operator of the Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry service) and Freight Lines, both founded by transport industry legend Jim Barker, as well as freight forwarding business Streamline, are being bought by funds managed by CHAMP Private Equity.
Strait Shipping managing director and Barker family spokesperson Sheryl Ellison says the sale represents the end of an era for the family and a very positive future for the businesses.
“We are extremely proud of these three leading New Zealand transport businesses and we are excited about their future under a new growth-focused ownership.”
Ellison says her father, Jim Barker, had been closely involved in the sale process up until his death in August.
“It was Dad’s vision that these businesses would continue to thrive, grow and lead New Zealand’s transport industry into the future and we’re confident that this sale will ensure this.”
CHAMP managing director Cameron Buchanan says his company is excited about the acquisition and future potential the three companies offer.
“We’re committed to building on the strong foundations the Barker family has created and growing these businesses for the benefit of not only investors but also the wider New Zealand freight and passenger transport markets.”
Buchanan says the CHAMP team was looking forward to working with management of each of the businesses during coming months to firm up plans for future growth and expansion.
“We are future-focused but we also recognise and respect the strong existing heritage of these companies.”
Settlement is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2017 subject to regulatory approval, but in the meantime it will be business as usual for the three companies as they head into the peak summer travel and transport season.
The Barker family will retain ownership of Bulklines and Stocklines, which are not included in this sale.