TUI AG (ETR: TUI1)(LSE: TUI) Thomson Cruises agreed to acquire the Legend of the Seas cruise ship from Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL), in the spring of 2017. Thomson Cruises, part of TUI UK & Ireland, is the third largest cruise line in the UK. TUI UK & Ireland. The purchase by TUI UK Ltd from RCI will see Thomson Cruises operate the vessel from May 2017, sailing from her homeport in the Mediterranean. The move comes a few weeks after Martin Gruschka‘s Swiss private equity firm Springwater Capital agreed to acquire a 51% stake in Pullmantur and Croisières de France (CDF) from Royal Caribbean. On April 28, TUI Group agreed to sell Hotelbeds for €1.2 billion to GNVA Acquisitions Limited, a company owned by UK private equity firm Cinven Capital and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Three weeks ago TUI said it plans to divest its Specialist Holidays Group (SHG) its global collection of niche holiday companies. “It’s an exciting time at Thomson Cruises as we bring to life our modernisation and transformation strategy to benefit UK cruise customers. This investment is another sign of our cruise business being a focus for driving growth in TUI UK and the wider TUI Group,” said Helen Caron, managing director of Thomson Cruises. “Since its inaugural sailing, Legend of the Seas has created many wonderful memories for hundreds of thousands of guests, and we expect this successful history to continue as she transitions to Thomson Cruises,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer of Royal Caribbean Cruises. Legend of the Seas first entered service with Royal Caribbean in 1995, and was built by Chantier’s de L’Atlantique, now STX France, in St. Nazaire, France. The 69,130-gross-registered-tons ship carries 1,832 guests (double occupancy) and 726 crew. The vessel, to be renamed TUI Discovery 2, is the sister to the soon-to-be launched TUI Discovery and will increase the fleet to six ships. Legend of the Seas’ final sailing will be on March 13, 2017, with the officers and crew remaining with the company and will be transferred to other vessels worldwide after the ship leaves the Royal Caribbean International fleet. “The current round trip Brisbane, Australia sailings departing on January 6, 15, 29 and February 8 will operate as scheduled,” the company said. Going forward, its Rhapsody of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will be redeployed to accommodate its passengers. The acquisition marks four ships in the next four years for Thomson customers as the previously announced Mein Schiff 1 and Mein Schiff 2 will be acquired from TUI Cruises for the Thomson Cruises fleet in 2018 and 2019 respectively. There are currently five ships in TUI Group’s Thomson Cruises fleet – Thomson Dream, Thomson Majesty, Thomson Celebration, Thomson Spirit and TUI Discovery which joined the fleet in summer 2016. The TUI Group, formerly Preussag AG, is the world’s leading tourism group, operating in around 180 destinations across the globe. The Group provides services along the entire tourism value chain for its 30 million customers. The company was founded in 1923. It embraces global leaders in the tour operator business, 1,800 travel shops and top online portals in Europe, five tour operator-airlines flying more than 140 state-of-the-art medium- and long-haul aircraft, over 300 hotels in its own portfolio under premium brands such as Riu and Robinson, and a cruise fleet of 13 ships. In the financial year 2014/15, the TUI Group with its 76,000 employees, generated a turnover of €20 billion. Global responsibility for sustainable economic, environmental and social activity is the core of its corporate culture. TUI is jointly listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange as a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. The company has a market capitalization of €7.88 billion. Having for more than 70 years been an industrial business operating as Preussag AG the company known today as TUI AG entered the tourism market in 1997 with the acquisition of one of Germany’s leading tourism companies Hapag-Lloyd. Further tourism acquisitions followed and the company started to exit from its industrial businesses. Acquiring some of the biggest names in European tourism including, Thomson, Fritidsresor and Nouvelles Frontières and shareholdings in the hotel groups RIU and Magic Life TUI AG created one of the world’s leading tourism groups. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises (a brand aimed at a German-speaking audience) through a 50 percent joint venture with Germany’s TUI AG. Together, these six brands operate a combined total of 46 ships with an additional ten on order. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 490 destinations on all seven continents. The company was founded in 1997 when Royal Caribbean international, founded in 1968, merged with Celebrity Cruises, founded in 1988. RCL is the world’s second-largest cruise line operator, after Carnival Corporation & plc. As of June 3, 2016 RCL had a market capitalization of $16.44 billion.]]>
Martin Gruschka‘s growing Swiss private equity firm Springwater Capital agreed to acquire a 51% stake in Pullmantur and Croisières de France (CDF) from Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL). As part of the deal, Springwater and RCL are forming a joint venture to bring best-in-class cruise experiences tailored to Spanish and French tourists through the Pullmantur and CDF cruise brands. RCL will keep a 49% stake, and retain full ownership of the ships and planes currently operated by Pullmantur and CDF, which will be leased into the joint venture. RCL will also provide marine operations services to Pullmantur and CDF through a management agreement. The joint venture expands on a pre-existing partnership between RCL and Springwater for Wamos, the air transport, travel agency, and tour operation businesses previously known as Pullmantur Air, Pullmantour Circuitos Turísticos, City Tours, Tour Operación, and Nautalia Viajes. Springwater Capital acquired control of the group in September 2014, with RCL retaining a minority stake in Nautalia Viajes and Pullmantur Air. The investment also expands Springwater’s existing tourism portfolio, which includes airline and travel agency investments in Spain, France and Portugal. “Pullmantur and CDF have a long history of offering authentic, localized cruise vacations to their home markets,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean. “We look forward to the new focus that this joint venture with Springwater will bring to these companies as they seek to grow.” “We are delighted to announce the joint venture with Royal Caribbean, and look forward to working with Pullmantur and CDF employees,’ said Martin Gruschka, founding partner, chairman and CEO of Springwater. “The transaction leverages our firm’s travel sector expertise, and will take advantage of Pullmantur and CDF’s strong client and travel industry relationships in the Spanish and French markets. These relationships – paired with Royal Caribbean’s cruise management – will create the foundation for a successful, long-term strategic partnership.” The joint venture is expected to be completed later this year, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. It is expected to result in an immaterial one-time gain, which will be excluded from RCL’s key metrics. Pullmantur Cruises (Cruceros Pullmantur), headquartered in Madrid, is the largest Spain-based cruise line. It began operations in the late 1990s as an offshoot of the Madrid-based travel agency Pullmantur. Pullmantur Cruises, through its parent company, was purchased by Royal Caribbean Cruises in 2006. Following the acquisition by Royal Caribbean several transfers were carried out between the Pullmantur fleet and those of other Royal Caribbean brands. CDF Croisières de France is a subsidiary of Pullmantur Cruises, catering to the French cruise market, with French as the primary language used on board. It was founded in September 2007 as a subsidiary of RCL. [caption id="attachment_431814" align="alignleft" width="1024"] Pullmantur Cruceros. Breezes of the Med, Mare Nostrum Magic on a Cruise[/caption] Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that owns Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France, as well as TUI Cruises (a brand aimed at a German-speaking audience) through a 50 percent joint venture with Germany’s TUI AG. Together, these six brands operate a combined total of 46 ships with an additional ten on order. They operate diverse itineraries around the world that call on approximately 490 destinations on all seven continents. The company was founded in 1997 when Royal Caribbean international, founded in 1968, merged with Celebrity Cruises, founded in 1988. RCL is the world’s second-largest cruise line operator, after Carnival Corporation & plc. As of May 12, 2016 RCL had a market capitalization of $16.3 billion. Springwater Capital LLC is an independent private investment firm founded in 2002. The company invests in different sectors throughout Europe always working closely with its portfolio companies’ management in order to achieve long-term sustainable returns. The secretive firm specializes in reorganization, restructuring, acquisition, special situations, and special opportunities transactions like turnaround and distressed investments. The firm seeks to invest in the media, real estate and entertainment sector, preferably in Europe. Springwater makes non-operational control investments. A control position is not needed in case of special opportunity investments, but an influential role is required in order to actively co-drive the restructuring process. It typically invests in debt and equity. Springwater Capital was founded in 2002 and is based in Geneva, Switzerland with additional offices in London, UK; Luxembourg; Madrid, Spain; and New York, N.Y. The firm has performed over 30 acquisitions and its current portfolio includes more than 20 platform companies with about €3bn in sales. In Spain Springwater has invested in companies such as Wamos, Aernnova, Delion, Daorje, Nervión Industries (Monesa), Fivemasa, Ceyde, Think Textil, Imtech, Peggy Sue’s or SGEL. In the tourism sector, Springwater has presence through affiliated companies in several countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and selected locations in Africa. Springwater does not seek to know the operational aspects of its portfolio companies in depth, it says, and presumably it does not need to know. The firm manages the numbers, strategies and human resources of its portfolio companies in five major areas as diverse as renewable energy, engineering, tourism, engineering, and business processes and outsourcing. Springwater’s founder and brash private equity dealmaker Martin Gruschka seems to have an eye for this line of business.
“Sometimes it’s an advantage not know the business, because you neither know the vices nor the processes,” Gruschka recently told Spain’s Economia Digital. “Although it isn’t always the best solution, it’s not necessarily bad for a fresh person to come in, who doesn’t know the sector.”Photo: Martin Gruschka, Founding Partner, Chairman and CEO of Springwater Capital LLC.]]>