Isle of Wight ferry service Red Funnel up for sale

One of the two main ferry firms that serve the Isle of Wight has reportedly been put up for sale for more than £250 million.

Southampton-based Red Funnel, which carries around 3.4 million passengers a year to and from Cowes, is being sold by Prudential’s Infracapital infrastructure arm, according to The Sunday Times.

Infracapital bought Red Funnel nine years ago for a reported sum of £200 million and has appointed Australian bank Macquarie to sell it.

Red Funnel traces its roots back to 1820 and now employs about 460 members of staff. It operates traditional ferries and Red Jet fast craft to and from the island with 30,000 combined sailings a year.

Red Funnel made profits of £17.6 million in 2015, 23% up year-on-year.

Red Funnel chief executive Kevin George said: “Infracapital has been a supportive owner of Red Funnel for nine years, during which time there has been significant investment and improvement in the services we provide.

“It is normal for an infrastructure fund manager such as Infracapital to review its investments from time to time.

“We remain totally committed to offering safe and reliable services, value for money and great customer service now and into the future.”

Rival ferry service Wightlink was sold by Macquarie two years ago to an offshoot of construction giant Balfour Beatty.