Royal Caribbean's Pullmantur Purchase Nearly Final!

October 31, 2006

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which in August announced plans to purchase Spain's Pullmantur S.A. cruise and tour operator, has received necessary antitrust approvals and the deal is now almost done. RCCL is the parent company of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises.

The big winner in the acquisition is Celebrity; click here for more details.

Royal Caribbean says it anticipates the closing to take place in mid-November.

Just to recap August's announcement, Royal Caribbean had signed an agreement with the shareholders of Pullmantur to buy all of the capital stock of the company for 430 million euros, plus Pullmantur's net debt of approximately 270 million euros. Royal Caribbean has obtained a committed bridge facility to support the purchase. As part of the transaction, Pullmantur, which offers trips to Cuba, will be withdrawing from all Cuba-related activities prior to closing.

This acquisition was a move to counter Carnival Corporation's growing dominance in southern Europe via its Italy-based Costa.

Pullmantur, formed in 1971, is the largest cruise operator in Spain. It has two primary business interests: cruises and tour operations. Its cruise division consists of five ships operating in Europe and Latin America. The fleet includes, among others, two former Renaissance R-series ships and the former Pacific Princess, which you may remember from TV series "The Love Boat."

Royal Caribbean has already ventured across the Atlantic via a joint venture in the U.K.-based Island Cruises; that two-ship fleet sails with Island Star (Celebrity's former Horizon) and Island Escape (previously known as Viking Serenade). What makes this deal significant is that Pullmantur will be Royal Caribbean's first wholly owned European brand.

Ironically, the acquisition will result in a first-time-ever operation by Royal Caribbean of a Carnival Corp. vessel; Pullmantur last year bought the former Pacific Sky from P&O Cruises Australia and renamed it Sky Wonder.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor