Australian CHAMP Private Equity has purchased Barker family-controlled transport and shipping companies – Bluebridge Cook Strait ferry service operator Strait Shipping, trucking firm Freight Lines, and freight forwarding business Streamline – for an undisclosed amount. The sale follows the passing of New Zealand’s entrepreneur and founder of the companies, Jim Barker.
Strait Shipping managing director and Barker family spokesperson Sheryl Ellison said the sale represents the end of an era for the family, and a very positive future for the business. Her father, Jim Barker, had been closely involved in the sale process up until his death in August.
“It was his 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… We are excited about their future under a new growth focused ownership,” she said in a statement.
Commenting on the transaction, CHAMP managing director Cameron Buchanan said his company is excited about the future potential the three companies offer, and is looking forward to working with them for future growth and expansion.
“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.”
“We are future focused but we also recognize and respect the strong existing heritage of these companies,” he added.
The deal settlement is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2017. It will be subject to regulatory approval.
Strait Shipping started its Cook Strait service with one ferry in 1992 when Barker wanted a service to transport cattle. It now operates two ferries, the Straitsman and Strait Feronia.
The Barker family will retain ownership of Bulklines and Stocklines, which are not included in the sale.