Celestyal Cruises and its Cypriot-based tourist organisation parent, Louis, have signed an agreement to tap into funds managed by private investment firm Searchlight Capital Partners.
As part of the partnership, Searchlight will make an investment into a new holding company, Celestyal Holdings.
This will enable Celestyal Cruises to promote its brand globally, build upon its success to date and expand its operational footprint whilst growing and renewing its fleet, the company said.
Celestyal Cruises will continue to operate its two ships from its offices in Piraeus, Greece with its current management team heading up the business. The Louis Group will take a shareholding in the new holding company.
“Prior to the pandemic, Celestyal was on a fast growth trajectory, and Searchlight’s infusion of capital will propel our growth strategy and accelerate our fleet renewal plan,” said Celestyal Cruises’ CEO, Chris Theophilides (pictured).
“We are extremely pleased to have Searchlight as a strategic partner and are eager to join forces with them to build on our positive momentum, amplify our global brand awareness and elevate our award winning guest experience, taking it to new heights. Our 2022 season is already looking solid and with this significant development, we are extremely excited about Celestyal’s journey ahead.”
“The cruise industry has shown a tremendous amount of resilience coming out of the pandemic, and as Greece’s major, home-porting cruise line, Celestyal has played a pivotal role in the country’s strong tourism recovery,” added Searchlight Partner, Ralf Ackermann.
“We are excited to support Chris and his management team and to work with the Louis Group to be involved in the next chapter of Celestyal’s growth. We believe this partnership will help to reinforce the company’s position as the leading cruise operator in the eastern Mediterranean region and enhance its uniquely authentic experiences and operating footprint.”
“Celestyal Cruises has always been a strong and robust regional expert and a key component of our tourism portfolio,” Costakis Loizou, Executive Chairman of the Louis Group commented. “With the added financial resources of Searchlight, Celestyal is destined for an even brighter future, and we look forward to being part of realising Celestyal’s full potential.”
Louis was advised by financial advisers, Houlihan Lokey, London; legal advisors, Hill Dickinson, London and Chryses Demetriades, Cyprus; and tax advisers, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cyprus. Searchlight was advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s legal team; financial advisers, Alvares & Marsal; tax advisors, KPMG, insurance advisers, Lockton; and technical advisors Renaissance Shipbroking.
Meanwhile, the former ‘Celestyal Antares’, renamed ‘Antares Experience’, was beached at Gadani for recycling on 3rd December. She was built in 1993 as the ‘Costa Romantica’.