The Deutschland Calls on Mġarr, Gozo Deutschland Holding has announced that a majority interest in the Deutschland and the operating company are being sold by Munich-based Aurelius to Callista, a private equity firm.

The buyer is described as specializing in turning small to medium-sized companies around. Aurelius is said to be keeping a minority interest. A purchase price was not revealed.

Callista is planning to continue current strategy of marketing the Deutschland in the luxury segment as a “grand hotel on the high seas” and sailing under German flag.

Christopher Nolde, who joined management at the beginning of 2013, is also taking a minority share. As managing director, Nolde will thus continue to execute company strategy.

According to a prepared statement, a bond issued by the holding company, will not be affected by the sale and interest payments will, if necessary, be covered by Aurelius. Plans call for the Deutschland to be able to service interest payments from its own resources from 2015. The 50 million euro bond is secured with a first mortgage in the ship.

The company reported that it completed its fiscal 2013 in line with revenue and earnings forecasts. The number of passengers was up 14 percent from the previous year. Financial results for 2013 are expected to be published in May, and management expressed confidence about 2014.

As of Jan. 6, 2014, the Deutschland had 30 more preliminary bookings for the current financial year, compared to the same time last year.

German press reports also suggested that the 1998-built, 22,400-ton, 520-passenger ship will fitted with balconies during her next drydocking later this year.