EQT Infrastructure has acquired Denmark’s largest passenger ferry company for about €1bn.

The fund manager said it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Molslinjen from a group of shareholders led by Polaris.

EQT did not disclose the value of the transaction, but a source close to the matter said it was approximately €1bn.

Molslinjen is headquartered in Aarhus, Denmark and was established in 1963 as a single-route operator creating a shortcut between Jutland and Zealand, connecting the country’s two largest cities. Today, the company is Denmark’s largest passenger ferry company with more than 700 employees and 15 vessels serving more than 8m people per year across nine routes, including connections to Sweden and Germany.

EQT said Molslinjen generated revenues of about DKK1.9bn in 2019, but did not disclose financial details for this year.

Molslinjen is a critical part of Denmark’s transportation infrastructure through its network of ‘floating bridges’ that link Denmark’s major population centres and connect several islands with the mainland.

According to Molslinjen’s website, the company has “adjusted its capacity” as a result of COVID-19 and its ferries are “sailing on schedule”.

EQT said the long-term outlook for Molslinjen was supported by steady population growth, increased urbanisation, climate consciousness, and growing domestic travel.

“The company is well positioned to capitalise on these shifts with its state-of-the-art ferry fleet, serving the most important travel corridors in the country,” it said.

Over the past decade, Molslinjen has reduced its carbon emissions by more than 60% and EQT said the company would continue to invest in increased decarbonisation of its ferry fleet and reduction of fossil fuel dependence.

“EQT Infrastructure is committed to supporting the company’s transition to electrified ferries on selected routes and introducing renewable fuel sources for larger vessels,” it said.

EQT will also focus on customer service improvements, such as refitting of the vessel layout, increased departure frequency and higher passenger capacity on popular routes.

Daniel Pérez, partner at EQT Partners, said: “We have followed Molslinjen closely for years and are tremendously impressed with its transformation into an indispensable element of the Danish transport infrastructure, under the leadership of Carsten Jensen and his management team.

“The next development phase of Molslinjen will be defined by the company’s ambitious sustainability agenda and continued investments in electrification and renewable fuel sources.

“In parallel, we also believe that there is scope to further build on Molslinjen’s successful inorganic growth strategy. Taken together, these investments will further future-proof the company, and we look forward to embarking on this journey together with Carsten and the management team.”

Jensen, CEO of Molslinjen, said: “We are excited to team up with EQT Infrastructure; they are a highly strategic partner who will bring both the industry expertise and financial muscles to support Molslinjen’s green development plans.”

The transaction, which is expected to close in early 2021, will mean EQT Infrastructure V is likely to be 20-25% percent invested.

Last month, IPE Real Assets reported that EQT planned to raise between €12.5bn and €15bn for the fund.