Anyone wanting to buy into one of the UK’s longest-established transport companies has the opportunity from this week when the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company starts trading its shares online.

The Steamship Company has provided passenger and freight services to the remote Isles of Scilly community 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall for 100 years.

Originally established by islanders in 1920, the business has grown into an air and sea operation carrying more than 200,000 passengers a year. This includes its own ships sailing from Penzance, and the company’s Skybus airline flying from Exeter, Newquay and Land’s End Airports. Later this year the company plans to trial a new freight service using a remotely piloted drone.

In the year to March 31 2020, the business reported a pre-tax profit of £1.02m on turnover of £18.4m and a net assets total of £10.4m.

Now the Steamship Company has joined the online share trading platform Asset Match, which allows investors to buy and sell shares in the company via online auctions. The first auction takes place on Thursday, 29th October.

Steamship Company Chief Executive Stuart Reid said: “Asset Match gives existing shareholders and potential new investors the opportunity to trade shares in a dynamic and transparent way, whereas before we have relied on traditional stock transfer forms.

“Because of our history, most of our shareholders are on the islands or in the South West of England and many have inherited their shares over generations. Asset Match gives them an easy route to realise the value of their shares should they want to, while making it much easier for new investors to come on board, diversifying our shareholder base.”

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company – which has 1.4 million ordinary shares in issue – was admitted to Asset Match on 6th October at a price of 500 pence per share, giving an indicative market cap of £7 million.

Shares are traded via the Asset Match website which brings together bids to buy shares and offers to sell in regular auctions. The first Steamship Company share auction closes on 29th October, with further auctions on 26th November and 17th December, and thereafter quarterly.