April 3, 2007
Rochester sells fast ferry for $30 milion
Rochester, New York, Mayor Robert J. Duffy announced yesterday that the city has agreed to terms to sell its fast ferry to Forde Reederei Seetouristik Gmbh & Co. KG (FRS) a German company with various shipping and ferry interests.
The purchase price is $30 million with a $3 million (10%) deposit held in escrow. The deal is scheduled to close by the end of the month.
"It was long in coming but this deal will accomplish what we set out to do last year," said Mayor Duffy. "We sought to maximize the price taxpayers received for the ferry in order to reduce the $40 million debt by at least half. This deal does that."
The deal has been in the works for several months. The city's chief negotiator, Corporation Counsel Thomas S. Richards, says FRS currently operates a fleet of ferries and the particular route on which it intends to use the vessel is from Spain to Morocco.
"While we have been actively negotiating with several other entities interested in making offers on the ferry, FRS became our preferred partner because they could afford a good price and had the ready financial backing to purchase the ferry in our time frame." said Richards.
The purchase price is to be paid in cash at closing and the Rochester Ferry Company has no continuing obligations with respect to the vessel following the legal closing. Closing of the sale is to occur by April 30th with the financial and legal closing to occur in New York City and delivery of the vessel in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.
The sale must be approved by both the Rochester Ferry Company and City Council. A ferry company board meeting will be scheduled soon. That meeting is open to the public and the City will release the agreement and a financial accounting of the sale and its impact on the Ferry Company and the City at that meeting.
"I want to thank Tom Richards for his time, effort and expertise in selling this vessel. I also want to thank the Rochester Ferry Company and City Council for their continuing cooperation and support throughout this trying and lengthy negotiation and sale," said Mayor Duffy. "Finally, I want to thank the public for their patience and support for what I know was a frustrating and prolonged process."
Duffy added: "I want the public to know that the City has aggressively pursued buyers other than Euroferries since July of 2006, when we officially terminated the Euroferries agreement. While we did still negotiate with Euroferries, there was never a time when other deals were not being pursued. Our goal has been the same throughout--maximize this purchase price to relieve the long term debt the boat will incur on city taxpayers."