A European banking consortium led by KfW-IPEX Bank has secured commitments for Norwegian Cruise Line (Norwegian) based in Miami to finance two cruise vessels to be built by the shipyard Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany.

A group of five lead arrangers, consisting of Deutsche Schiffsbank, DNB NOR, HSBC, KfW-IPEX-Bank and Nordea committed to finance the new vessels in accordance with OECD rules concerning Hermes export credit cover and the CIRR Scheme for ship financing. The financing may also be used to fund payments made during the construction period.

The two new vessels with a contract price of  approximately 1.2 billion belong to the Post-Panamax class. With a gross tonnage of 143,500, the two vessels are currently the largest passenger/cruise ships to be built in Germany. When completed in April 2013 and 2014 respectively, they will each have approximately 4,000 passenger berths.

"This financing agreement continues our longstanding cooperation with both Norwegian and Meyer Werft. As one of the leading shipbuilding financiers, this underlines our structuring capability in the cruise industry. At the same time we support German export business and help to secure employment in a highly innovative industry in northern Germany," said Dr. Carsten Wiebers, Head of the Ship Finance Department at KfW IPEX-Bank.

Beyond their function as Lead Arrangers, Nordea is acting as Documentation Agent and, together with DnB NOR, as Bookrunners. Commerzbank holds the function of the Hermes Agent while KfW IPEX-Bank is heading the consortium as Facility Agent.

With a current capacity of some 26,200 berths, spread across 11\ modern, purpose-built Freestyle Cruising ships, Norwegian Cruise Line is currently the third-largest cruise operator.

Meyer Werft is a family-owned shipyard in the sixth generation, building ships for over 215 years. This most modern shipyard builds highly innovative cruise vessels for their worldwide customers, and is the largest employer in the Papenburg region.