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Carnival Corporation & plc and TUI AG Sign Letter of Intent to Form Joint Venture for Large-Scale German Cruise Operation
Miami and Hanover, Germany (ots/PRNewswire) -
- Joint Venture to Operate Existing AIDA Cruises Brand and Launch New TUI Cruises Brand in Germany
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE: CCL; LSE) (NYSE: CUK), the largest cruise vacation group in the world, and TUI AG (DE: TUAG00), the world's largest tour operator, today announced the signing of a letter of intent to form a joint venture company to develop, market and operate two cruise brands - Carnival's existing AIDA Cruises and a new TUI Cruises brand - both designed for the German-speaking holiday market.
AIDA, the German affiliate of Costa Crociere S.p.A., is currently the market leader in Germany with its "club resort" cruise concept aimed at younger, more active passengers. AIDA currently operates a four-ship fleet, with four additional ships under construction at Germany's Meyer Werft shipyard and scheduled for delivery between 2007 and 2010.
Under the proposed joint venture agreement, a new TUI Cruises brand, which will target a different segment of the German cruise market, will be developed. It is expected that the first TUI branded ship, with an estimated 3,000 passenger berths, will be delivered in spring of 2010.
The new joint venture company will be managed under the direction of Pier Luigi Foschi, chairman and CEO of Carnival's Costa Cruises unit, who currently oversees Carnival's German operations, including AIDA. Michael Thamm, president of AIDA Cruises, based in Rostock, Germany, will become president of the new joint venture company.
Under the proposed transaction, TUI will initially purchase five percent of the joint venture in 2007 and is expected to purchase another 20 percent in 2010. For purposes of this transaction, AIDA's business was valued at euro 1.9 billion for inclusion in the joint venture, which will be formed with euro 600 million of indebtedness. The purchase price will be paid to Carnival in cash at the closing of each transaction based on a net equity value of euro 1.3 billion. When the initial five percent purchase closes in 2007, Carnival expects to record a pre-tax gain of approximately euro 60 million (US$80 million). Another gain will be recorded under U.S. accounting principles at the time of closing of the subsequent 20 percent purchase in 2010.
Apart from the aforementioned gains, Carnival expects the transaction to be neutral to earnings on an annualized basis for the 12-month period following the transaction closing.
"TUI is a highly diversified and experienced company in the European travel and tourism sector and has extensive brand awareness throughout Europe, particularly in Germany," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman and CEO. "By combining TUI's strengths with Carnival's tremendous experience in building, operating and marketing cruise ships, we are creating an excellent platform for growth in the rapidly expanding German cruise market."
Added Dr. Michael Frenzel, CEO of TUI AG, "With AIDA Cruises, Carnival has already set up a successful and profitable model in the German cruise market. By entering into this joint venture and benefiting from Carnival's unrivaled expertise, we are able to put the TUI Cruises brand on water. Together, AIDA and TUI Cruises will provide ideal offers to an even larger potential of cruise customers in this commercially highly interesting segment."
The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2007 pending approval of both companies boards of directors, all necessary regulatory approvals, customary due diligence and the execution of definitive agreements.
About Carnival Corporation & plc
Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises, Swan Hellenic, and P&O Cruises Australia.
Together, these brands operate 81 ships totaling approximately 144,000 lower berths with 18 new ships scheduled to enter service between March 2007 and spring 2010. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, Holland America Tours and Princess Tours. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.
About TUI AG
The TUI Group is the European market leader in tourism and one of the top five players in global container shipping. The tour operators of TUI trade in 17 European countries and in 2005 sold the Group's products to around 21 million customers. TUI encompasses all in all about 3,200 travel agencies, 7 airlines with more than 100 aircraft and 35 incoming agencies. Its hotel portfolio is made up of 279 hotels with approximately 164,000 beds in 30 countries.
TUI provides its customers with complete holidays from a single source - from booking in a TUI travel agency, flights with one of the World of TUI airlines, accommodation in the Group's own hotels and customer-care by the Group's own incoming agencies.
Through its wholly owned subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd, headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, TUI operates one of the world's leading container shipping companies with more than 140 container ships. Under the brands of Hapag-Lloyd in Germany and Thomson in the UK, TUI also operates a fleet of nine cruise liners. The Hapag-Lloyd cruise ship division is the leading "premium and luxury cruise" tour operator in German-speaking countries. The four cruise liners including the 5-star-plus "MS Europa" are at home on all the world's oceans.
In the 2005 financial year, more than 60,000 employees achieved a turnover of more than EUR 19 billion. Over 70 percent of this was generated by the tourism division.
ots Originaltext: Carnival Corporation & plc
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch
MEDIA CONTACTS, Tim Gallagher of Carnival Corporation & plc (US),
+1-305-599-2600, ext. 16000; or Ruban Yogarajah of Brunswick Group
(UK), +44-0-20-7404-5959; or Fabrizia Greppi of Costa Cruises,
+39-010-5483-523, or +39-010-5483-903; or Hansjorg Kunze of AIDA
Cruises, +49-381-444-8020; or Kuzey Alexander Esener of TUI AG,
+49-511-566-1487, or +49-511-566-4569; or INVESTOR RELATIONS, Beth
Roberts of Carnival Corporation & plc, +1-305-406-4832