Thursday, August 31, 2006

RCCL Scooping Up Pullmantur ...

Global Expansion: To further expand European and Latin American operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has cut a deal to purchase Pullmantur S.A., a Madrid-based cruise/tour operator. Once regulatory tape is wrapped, RCCL expects to close by year’s end. Pullmantur, formed in 1971, is Spain’s largest cruise operator, with five ships and tour operations in Europe and Latin America. It sells travel packages to Spanish guests to Caribbean resorts, and sells packages to Europe aimed at Latin American customers. Pullmantur has offices in Spain and Portugal, with about 2,600 employees, and will be Royal Caribbean’s first wholly-owned European brand. RCCL has signed to buy all of Pullmantur's capital stock for €430 million, plus Pullmantur’s net debt of some €270 million. Royal Caribbean says it has "obtained a committed bridge facility” to support the purchase, which we take to mean they’ve lined up a loan. As part of the deal, Pullmantur withdraws from all Cuba-related activity before closing. A conference call is at 1 p.m. EDT today (8/31) to discuss: (877) 874-9961, and International – (706) 634-0610. The call can be heard live, delayed, or on www.rclinvestor.com.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

MSC Touts Fall in Europe ...

Autumn Tantalizers: Fall is a prime time to experience Europe, with the summer tourist crush over, shop prices lower, restaurants less crowded, and breezes delightful. MSC Cruises' 11-night itineraries help regenerate, rediscover and savor subtle pleasures of European life, history and culture while visiting magnificent destinations. From September to December, MSC sails ancient routes, from the Med and Black Sea to the Atlantic, offering trademark Italian-style cruising. A sampling includes MSC Musica’s 11-nighter to Croatia, Greece, Tunisia, Balearic Islands, Spain and France, departing Oct. 28 from Venice for Piraeus, Rhodes, Heraklion, Tunis, Palma, Barcelona, and Marseille, with Nov. 8 in Genoa. Fares:From $1,650 pp, double, plus fees and tax. MSC’s fleet expands from eight to 12 ships with debut of MSC Orchestra in '07, MSC Poesia and MSC Fantasia in '08, and MSC Serenata in '09. MSC sponsors Alinghi in the 32nd America’s cup, with finals in Valencia in June 2007.