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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Uría Menéndez advises DFDS on acquisition of FRS Iberia/Maroc

Uría Menéndez has counselled DFDS A/S on the acquisition of FRS Iberia/Maroc, a leader in the ferry transport market in the Strait of Gibraltar, from the German ferry company FRS GmbH & Co. KG.

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The international ferry company FRS, based in Flensburg, is disassociating itself from the subsidiary FRS Iberia/Maroc. In the future, the ferry lines between Spain and Morocco will be operated by the Danish ferry company DFDS.

Established in 2000, FRS Iberia/Maroc is today the only ferry company operating all ports in the Strait of Gibraltar. It operates five fast ferries, two conventional ferries and one RoRo ferry. FRS Iberia/Maroc’s business volume has been extraordinarily successful over two decades despite strong competition. With the growing Moroccan economy and the strengthening of the joint market between the two countries, FRS Iberia/Maroc’s annual transports have increased. In the year 2023, 1.9 million passengers and 370,000 vehicles are expected. The company is one of the market leaders in ferry traffic between Spain and Morocco, with extensive experience in the operation of fast ferries and cargo traffic.

Earlier this year, the Flensburg-based family-owned company decided to team up with an equally strong partner to support this brand’s growth further. The Danish ferry company DFDS, based in Copenhagen, has proven to be a solid partner that has been active mainly in ferry traffic in Northern Europe but also recently in the Mediterranean region. Like FRS, DFDS (Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab) is a ferry company with a long tradition that dates back to 1866.

During negotiations, the complete sale of FRS Iberia/Maroc was presented as the most logical step for both companies. Consequently, FRS is transferring its subsidiary to the prestigious DFDS. The leading Danish company will continue to operate the ferry service in the Strait of Gibraltar together with experienced local employees, thus maintaining the well-known high-quality standards.

DFDS, a leader in the ferry and logistics sector, has an impressive fleet of more than 75 modern vessels and an exceptional infrastructure of ferry connections in more than 20 countries. With a large team of 12,300 employees and an annual turnover of 3.6 billion euros, DFDS is ideally placed to support FRS Iberia/Maroc in its quest for further growth.

The transaction is subject to the approval of the relevant Spanish and Moroccan competition authorities. The parties have agreed to keep the purchase price secret.

Uría Menéndez’s team was formed by: Manuel Echenique (partner, M&A-Private Equity, Madrid); Carlos López-Quiroga (partner, Shipping and Transport, Madrid); Tomás Arranz (partner, Competition, Madrid);  Cristina Díaz Bauluz (senior associate, M&A-Private Equity, Madrid),  José Sánchez-Fayos (senior associate, Shipping and Transport, Madrid); Adria Riba (senior associate, Tax, Madrid); Miloslava Ilcheva Srandeva (associate, Tax, Madrid); Éanna Malone (associate, Corporate-M&A, Madrid); César Farrapeira (junior associate, M&A-Private Equity, Madrid); Javier Gutiérrez-Gil (junior associate, M&A-Private Equity, Madrid);  Álvaro Angulo (junior associate, Competition, Madrid); Isabel Fernández (junior associate, Public Law, Madrid).

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