Attica Enterprises, the holding company for Superfast Ferries, and cruise company Costa Crociere, owned by Carnival Cruise Lines, signed signed a letter of intent to create two joint ventures in cruise and ferry operations.
According to the memorandum, two new shipping companies will become active in Eastern Mediterranean cruises and in West Mediterranean ferry traffic. Negotiations have not yet been completed with regards to the cooperation’s exact form. Neither company excudes share exchange, ship contribution a capital injected.
Apart from Superfast Ferries, Blue Star Ferries, which is 40% owned by Attica, will also have interests in the new companies to be formed. The cooperation’s objective, according to Costa Crociere’s president, Pier Luigi Foschi, is the exploitation of the favorable climate in the market place of cruises, passenger vessels and car-ferries.
These two joint ventures anticipated through the alliance, but which are still subject to finalization, will most likely see Costa Attica Cruises as the new shipping company. This will be a partnership between the two companies and it will engage in the cruise market, with itineraries mainly in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Expectations are that Costa Attica Cruises will offer superior service and cruise experience that will set a new standard for cruises with its homeport being in Greece. Costa Superfast, again a partnership between Attica and Costa, will be the new company operating high quality ferry services mainly within the Western Mediterranean Sea area.
Two Superfast type new generation ro-pax ferries, which will offer an innovative service thanks to their 28 knots average speed, will initially be employed.
“We believe that combining Costa Crociere know-how in the cruise business and Attica Enterprises experience and successful operation in the ferry market will significantly strengthen both companies and will provide enhanced results to shareholders,” said Mr. Foschi. “These new initiatives are very timely and are especially positioned to take advantage of the expected full recovery of the cruise business while increasing highly qualified presence in the fast growing ferry sector”.
In announcing this deal, Pericles Panagopulos, chairman of Attica Enterprises said “we are very happy to combine forces with Costa Crociere, a member of the Carnival Corporation Group, the largest Cruise Company in the world. We believe that the combined efforts will produce excellent results for our Companies and for our shareholders both in the fast ferry and cruise industries.”
Costa Crociere S.p.A., a member of the Carnival Corporation Group (NYSE:CCL), is the number one cruise company in Italy and Europe, with turnover in 2000 of 1,108.4 billion lire (572.44 million Euros), operating the most modern fleet of the continent (eight ships totaling 414,000 gross tonnage with a capacity of over 10,800 berths including Costa Europa, which will begin operating in May 2002). Orders have been placed for four new vessels, which will bring the fleet capacity to 19,000 berths by 2004.
Costa Crociere ships operate in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Caribbean and in South America .
Attica Enterprises Holdings S.A. is a Company listed on the Athens Stock Exchange (Reuters EPA.AT), parent company of Superfast Ferries and Blue Star Ferries, owners of a fleet of 21 ships and eight more under construction in various shipyards in Greece, Germany and South Korea.