Friday, May 12, 2000
With 350 million people, Europe's potential leisure market is larger than that of the United States and Canada combined. In spite of double-digit growth in recent years, cruising has only reached 0.8% of the annual European vacation market so far.
Commenting on the announcement, P&O Chairman Lord Sterling said: "Following our recent investments in Aida and Seetours, this is a further key strategic move in consolidating our position as the leading European cruise company and reinforces our standing as the most international of the major cruise lines. Festival is a dynamic business with a strong brand name and reputation. By combining these strengths with those of the P&O group, we have an excellent platform from which to take full advantage of the strongly growing European cruise market."
Festival will be developed as an independent brand under the guidance of its established management team, headed by chairman and CEO George Poulides.
P&O will pay for Festival with a mixture of cash and shares. "With particularly strong profits, this would have a value of up to $400 million," says P&O. The shares will be in the new cruise company that will be created later this year by the spin-off of P&O's cruises division.
Festival Cruises will continue to operate and market the four cruise ships Azur, Bolero, Flamenco and Mistral. The 1,200 berth French-flag Mistral was named in June 1999 at a ceremony attended by France's Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and was the first modern cruise ship specifically designed and built for the pan-European market.
Festival's next two ships, each with 1,566 lower berths, are the European Vision and European Dream, scheduled for delivery from Chantiers de l'Atlantique in France in June 2001 and April 2002. They will have the same design philosophy as Mistral.
Besides the existing newbuilding program,
P&O and Festival say they are keen to embark on a wider expansion
of the Festival brand in the near future so as to keep pace with
rapidly growing European demand for cruises in the Mediterranean
and other leading destinations.
"Trico's liftboats were obtained in 1993 in connection with another acquisition and have been operated by a third party since that time,'' said Trico president and CEO Thomas E. Fairley. "While these specialized vessels perform an important service in the work associated with offshore platform repair and maintenance and well servicing, they have not been part of Trico's core business or its growth strategy.''
The liftboats, which range in leg length from 130 feet to 170 feet, will increase Superior's fleet from 42 to 48, including 30 liftboats in the its rental fleet and 18 in its wireline fleet - more than any other liftboat operator worldwide.
"We are extremely pleased to add these
liftboats to our rental fleet, particularly at a time when dayrates
and utilization are trending up from first quarter levels,''