€25 million bid tabled
A group of investors represented by the Madrid company Goros Investements has launched a takeover bid for the Soller train and tram company Ferrocarril de Soller (photos). The investors want to buy complete control of the railway or nothing at all and the current shareholders have until 6th September to decide whether to sell.
In total there are 172,000 shares in the company and Goros have offered €145 for each one – way above the market value – which would mean an outlay of over €25 million if they bought each one!
Significantly Goros Investments specialise in acquiring companies to unlock their potential, create value, and build profitable and sustainable businesses. In this bid they represent a group of private investors linked to the tourist industry in both Spain and Mallorca and a major European player in the passenger transport sector.
The group have stated that they wish to modernise the running of the railway without losing its charm and tourist attractiveness by making it easier to buy tickets over the internet, have better disabled facilities, run more cultural itineraries and promote the train's use by local people in winter. They have also stated that no staff will lose their jobs should the takeover proceed.
The news has been greeted with some dismay in the Soller Valley as the inhabitants have many emotional ties with the railway which was in the main financed by local folk stumping up 500 pesetas (remember them) per share over 100 years ago. Back then the railway opened up Soller from its isolated position beyond a mountain range and allowed wealth from trade to flow into the town.
The general opinion of local people is that they want the train to remain just as it is as far as ownership is concerned though I doubt whether any of them use it as cars and the bus service are much quicker and much cheaper and more suited for work, leisure and shopping trips to Palma.