Louis plc announces that it has entered into an agreement with Star Cruises for the purchase of two of its cruise ships, namely the “Norwegian Dream” and the “Norwegian Majesty” for a total amount of US $ 380 million (Euro 240 million). The purchase price for the first one is US $218 million (Euro 138 million) and US $162 million (Euro 102 million) for the second one.
As per the terms of the agreement, the two cruise ships will be chartered back to Star Cruises until November 2008 for the Norwegian Dream and December 2009 for the Norwegian Majesty. The funding has been undertaken by DVB Bank, the global specialist transportation finance bank.
The purchase of these two cruise ships constitutes the most important renewal and upgrading of the Louis Cruise Lines fleet in its twenty-two year old history and at the same time it further enhances the company’s leading position in the Eastern Mediterranean cruise market.
This strategically important agreement implements the previously announced company policy for upgrading its fleet by adding new generation cruise vessels of higher capacity which fit the company’s profile of services.
The 51.000 tons Norwegian Dream is 230 meters long and was built in France in 1992. In 1998 it underwent a lengthening operation. It is a new generation cruise ship which can accommodate 2.156 passengers in its 875 spacious cabins and suites, 695 of which are outside and 48 with private balcony. The cruise ship features ten decks, six restaurants, eleven lifts, two swimming pools, Spa & Fitness facilities, a two-tiered show lounge, casino, library as well as an array of bars and other public areas.
The 41.000 tons Norwegian Majesty is 207 meters long and it was built in Finland in 1992. In 1999 the vessel underwent an extensive rebuilding, lengthening and refurbishment amounting to US$53,3 million. It is a new generation cruise ship and can accommodate 1.790 passengers in its 731 spacious cabins and suites, 481 of which are outside. The cruise ship features nine decks, five restaurants, six lifts, three swimming pools, Spa & Fitness facilities, an amphitheatrical show lounge, casino, library as well as a large number of other public areas.
This very important expansion in the Company’s cruising operations is expected to lead to substantially higher profitability for 2009 onwards and at the same time will create new prospects for Louis plc internationally
Commenting on this important development, Louis plc Executive Chairman Costakis Loizou stated: “Today’s announcement is in line with our strategy for the renewal of our fleet and continuous upgrading of the services we provide. It is a major step forward not only for Louis but for the Mediterranean cruise market as a whole, where we have been particularly active for a couple of decades now. Our decision is consistent with the current trends of the cruise market, the most rapidly growing tourism sector internationally. Louis Cruise Lines commenced its operations back in 1986 with MV Princesa Marissa, placing Cyprus on the European cruise map. The cruise business of the Company grew over the years based on solid and careful steps. The acquisition of MV Cristal last year coupled with the addition of these two new cruise ships strengthen Louis Cruise Lines’ position in the international cruise market, thus enabling us to provide an even higher standard of services, which after all is what the Louis brand name stands for, in its seventy-three year-long history”.