On Friday agreements were signed for the financing of two cruise ships of the AIDA fleet for the world's largest cruise company Carnival Corporation & plc. The financing was provided through two banking syndicates of four and six banks respectively, each headed by KfW IPEX-Bank. Both ships are built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany, whereas the AIDAbella had been put into service in 2008, already.

The AIDA vessels are highly energy-efficient cruise ships which, through the installation of innovative technology, substantially advance the "Green Ship Approach". As an example, the energy-efficient lighting system for the newest ship contributes to the reduction in CO2 emissions by up to 3,000 tonnes per year, in addition to a considerable reduction of pollutant emissions through newly developed propulsion engines. The newest ship of the AIDA fleet was ordered from Meyer Werft in summer 2010 and is to be delivered in the first half of 2013.

"As one of the worldwide leading ship financiers we have once again succeeded in proving our structuring competence in the cruise ship sector. We are pleased to continue our trustful cooperation with the world's largest cruise company, Carnival Corporation & plc. At the same time, we are contributing to the development of Green Ships through the financing of energy-efficient cruise ships developed by Meyer Werft in northern Germany", said Dr Carsten Wiebers, head of the Ship Finance department at KfW IPEX-Bank.

Along with KfW IPEX-Bank, the syndicate for financing the AIDAbella consists of Citibank Europe plc, Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. The AIDA vessel that is to be delivered in 2013 will be financed by a syndicate made up of Banca Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A., BNP Paribas, DnB Nor Bank, Lloyds TSB Bank plc and Société Générale, and headed by KfW IPEX-Bank. The loans, which amount to EUR 175.5 million and EUR 239.2 million respectively, are Hermes covered OECD compliant financings.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ibero Cruises, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.  Together, these brands operate 98 ships totaling more than 191,000 lower berths with 10 new ships scheduled to be delivered between March 2011 and May 2014. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

The Meyer Werft shipyard is a family-owned operation in the sixth generation, building ships for over 215 years. The shipyard has a long tradition and builds modern cruise ships for customers from all over the world, and it is the most important employer in the Papenburg region.