TUI Group has completed the sale of its subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd Cruises to TUI Cruises (TUIC), a joint venture company operated with the Royal Caribbean Group.
The sale was announced in February, 2020, prior to the pandemic halting the cruise industry. At the time, it valued the company at €1.2 bill.
TUI entered the tourism market in 1997 with the acquisition of Hapag-Lloyd, which at the time was separated from the cargo shipping operations.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises had recently upgraded and expanded its cruise operations with the introduction of two new luxury cruise ships for the expedition cruise market and an order for a third expedition cruise ship scheduled for delivery next year.
In addition, the company operates two luxury cruise ships, the ’Europa’ and ’Europa 2’, and recently began to expand its marketing approach beyond German-speaking guests into the international markets.
TUI said that the transfer of the cruise vessels to the joint venture will be completed in the coming days. The ships are laid up in Hamburg, Germany, due to the pandemic.
TUI said that it will use the transaction proceeds to strengthen the group’s balance sheet and to drive its transformation into a digital organisation.
The company explained that it was evolving from a traditional tour operator into a developer, investor and operator of hotels and cruise ships, as well as a destination activity provider.
Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) advised TUIC on the financing and implementation of its acquisition.
TUIC was established in April, 2008 as a joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Cruises, WFW explained.
The acquisition of the five HLC vessels has resulted in an expansion of TUIC’s overall fleet to 12 cruise ships.
TUIC was advised by a cross-border, multi-disciplinary WFW team, managed out of London and Hamburg.
The London team was led by Maritime Partner, Lucy Shtenko, supported by Partners David Osborne, Richard Smith and Kate Silverstein, Associates Konstantina Kyprianidou, Marinos Papadopoulos, Alex Clark and Ida Marie Windrup, all advising on the financial aspects, while Partner Robert Platt handled contractual issues and Partner Jeremy Robinson and Associate Pierre Welch assisted on competition law matters.
The Hamburg team was led by Maritime Partner, Dr Christian Finnern working closely with Tax Partner Gerrit Bartsch, Corporate Partner Dr Björn-Axel Dißars and Employment Partner Dr Andreas Wiegreffe, with support from Of Counsel Torge Rademacher and Managing Associates Carolin Woggon and Dr Malte von Seht (all Corporate) and Associates Julia König, Dr Frank Wacht, Dr Niklas Wiechmann (all Maritime), as well as Sebastian Olbertz, Muteber Yalcin and Paul Philipp Greef (all Corporate).
Associate Verena Weider advised on tax law issues and Senior Associate Nora Fleischhauer handled the employment law aspects of the transaction. In addition, Frankfurt Partner Dr Sebastian Wulff advised on debt capital markets issues with Associate Anja Gallmayer while Finance Partner Frederik Lorenzen together with Senior Associate Alexander Piepenbrock also assisted on finance and corporate matters.