September 2, 2003
Carnival consolidates German cruise operations
With the transfer of the A'ROSA Blu, to be renamed AIDA Blu, Carnival Corporation & plc says it will have two distinct brands operating five vessels catering exclusively to German-speaking clientele. The four AIDA ships will operate under the informal "club resort" cruise concept aimed at younger, more active passengers while the vessel of Costa Kreuzfahrten, a division of Costa Cruises, offers a more traditional cruise experience.
Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison commented:"AIDA and Costa are the two most recognizable and respected names in German ocean cruises. This is a strategic move that will allow us to focus on these two truly exceptional but markedly different cruise products for German-speaking clientele while optimizing asset utilization and maximizing returns for the corporate group."
"The German-speaking market is one of the fastest growing in Europe," noted Arison, "and these two well-known, popular brands will serve as a platform for our future growth there."
Arison pointed out that the consolidation of Carnival Corporation & plc's German operations is yet another example of the company taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the DLC combination of Carnival Corporation and P&O Princess Cruises that was finalized in April 2003. "We will continue to explore opportunities to utilize our existing assets to benefit the diversity of brands within Carnival Corporation & plc," he said.
As previously announced, Pier Luigi Foschi, Costa Cruises' chairman and CEO and a member of Carnival Corporation & plc's boards of directors, will continue to have overall responsibility for the company's German cruise companies, including Seetours, which operates AIDA, with Seetours President Lars Clasen reporting directly to Foschi.
The parent company of Seetours, the operator of A' ROSA, has signed a letter of intent with Arkona AG for the sale of its A'ROSA river cruise business, including three 200-passenger riverboats and the "A'ROSA" trademark, effective later this year. The sale price for the transaction is equal to the net book value of the assets on Nov. 30, 2003, with an additional Euro 800,000 payable for the goodwill of the business. Thirty percent of the purchase price is payable at closing with the remaining balance payable over a five- year period, with interest. The completion of the transaction is subject to the execution of definitive agreements. The transaction, if completed, will have no financial impact to the company.