TUI Group has invested EUR278 million to take ownership of the Europa 2 cruise ship.
The buy-out replaces a previous charter agreement for the ship, which was built in 2013 for Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten.
It consists of a cash component of EUR67 million to the previous owner and the assumption of EUR211m of debt.
Hapag-Lloyd has been growing in the last 18 months with the division to be ‘significantly increased’ in the current financial year.
Fritz Joussen, CEO of the TUI Group said: “The acquisition of the EUROPA 2 enables us to achieve further improvements in the results of Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten. We expect the transaction to already create positive earnings effects in the current financial year.”
Despite initial start-up difficulties the ship has since increased its occupancy by 52% year-on-year within the financial year, and rates have also gone up.
Moving forward it is expected to improve its EBITA by EUR20 million per year in comparison to the charter deal.
Hapag-Lloyd has four ships: Europa and Europa 2 in the luxury segment and MS Hanseatic and MS Bremen used for expedition cruises.
“Thanks to our consistent focus on the luxury and expedition cruise segment, we have managed to improve the positioning of our products and above all strongly expand the differentiation of the two luxury liners in the past few months,” said Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten. “The acquisition of the EUROPA 2 is a logical step and constitutes a further key milestone for an enhanced and sustained profitability of our company.”
TUI Group’s purchase of the ship is part of its overall strategy since the firm was created from the merger of TUI AG and TUI Travel. Owning cruise ships and hotels will allow the group to ‘enhance efficiency’ of the assets.