Monday 31 March 2014
Publication: AFR online
Journalist: Simon Evans
Ferry and tourism group SeaLink is shelling out an extra $2.7 million on a new rocket ferry for its Captain Cook Cruises business on Sydney Harbour to take its total ferry numbers to 16 by the end of calendar 2014.
SeaLink has been one of the glamour stocks at the small-cap end of the Australian Securities Exchange since its listed in October, 2013, at an issue price of $1.10 per share.
The shares are currently trading at around $1.97 in the tightly-held stock, meaning investors who bought into the public float have almost doubled their money.
SeaLink managing director Jeff Ellison said on Monday a new purpose-built vessel had been commissioned at a cost of $2.7 million and was being constructed in Tasmania to keep up with strong demand for services on Sydney Harbour.
He said the new generation ferry could carry up to 200 passengers and had “the flexibility to operate anywhere from as far up the river as Parramatta, and all the way out to Manly’’.
SeaLink was aiming to expand further its charter business on Sydney Harbour after winning new contracts with Harbour City Ferries, the Biennale Festival and the temporary Convention Centre.
The Captain Cook business, and the broader SeaLink operations, which also include the Kangaroo Island ferry service off South Australia and ferry services in Townsville in northern Queensland and Darwin, are benefiting from a steady improvement in international tourist numbers to Australia.
Sydney businesswoman Lucy Turnbull, a former Sydney lord mayor and the wife of Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, joined the board of SeaLink in August 2013 as the company prepared for its listing on the ASX.