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.