CBRE Investment Management (CBRE IM) and CapMan Infra, which each acquired a 50 per cent. stake in leading Norwegian ferry and express boat operator Norled AS in 2019, have now entered into an agreement for CBRE IM to acquire the entire stake managed by CapMan. CBRE IM is making the investment on behalf of a fund it sponsors as well as some of its separately managed accounts.

Norled is one of Norway’s four leading marine transportation companies with a fleet of 41 ferries and 30 express boats operating on availability-based contracts. A leader in innovative and environmentally friendly transportation solutions, Norled has invested significantly in new types of vessels and eco- friendly technology, including hybrid and battery-driven vessels and the first hydrogen-electric ferry. Since 2019, Norled has invested c. NOK 2.5bn into renewing its fleet, decreasing CO2 emissions by 30% from 2019 to 2021. Furthermore, the number of low and zero emission vessels in the company’s 1 fleet has grown from two to 18 .

Water transportation is an essential part of Norwegian infrastructure, and the Norwegian government has set and is supporting ambitious targets for transport companies to transform the sector from diesel to renewable electric and hydrogen solutions. Norled intends for most of its fleet to be carbon emission- free within the next decade.

“We believe Norled continues to be an attractive European transportation infrastructure investment opportunity due to the long-term availability-based contracts, which have contributed to the resilience of these assets, coupled with the support of the Norwegian government’s accelerated shift to green technologies,” commented Dr. Andreas Köttering, Head of Europe Private Infrastructure, CBRE Investment Management. “We have appreciated partnering with CapMan to grow Norled and now look forward to further advancing this pioneering ferry company.”

Norled’s current management team, led by CEO Heidi Wolden, will continue to run the day-to-day operations.

“Since acquiring the company, we have established Norled as a successful stand-alone business by strengthening the management team, organisation and tendering capabilities, while investing significantly into decarbonisation of the fleet. The resilience of the business was further demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are proud to have won a significant new tender backlog, which forms the basis for Norled’s future success and continued investments into the green shift. The company is now well placed to deliver long-term value under CBRE IM’s ownership. It has been an honour to work with Norled’s dedicated employees and management team,” said Ville Poukka, Managing Partner at CapMan Infra.

“We are pleased that CBRE IM strengthens and continues the ownership of the company. CBRE IM has proved to be a long-term owner committed to further investments in zero- and low emissions solutions within our industry. Together we will work to ensure that most of our fleet is carbon emission-free within the next decade,” says Heidi Wolden, CEO of Norled.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close later this year.