Carnival Corp. is buying Alaska port, rail, retail operations

Through its subsidiary, Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, Carnival Corp. & PLC plans to acquire TWC Enterprises Ltd.'s White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) division, including port, railroad and retail operations in Skagway, Alaska.

The reported price is $290m, less the assumption of debut, taxes and other liabilities. The sale is scheduled to close on July 31, subject to customary conditions.

Survey Point Holdings to co-manage port, White Pass Railway and retail

In addition, Holland America Princess Alaska Tours executed a memorandum of understanding with Survey Point Holdings, an Alaskan company based in Ketchikan, and several of its affiliates. This MOU will create a joint venture making Survey Point the managing partner of the port, White Pass Scenic Railway and the associated retail operations that Carnival is acquiring from TWC Enterprises.

As part of the new MOU and joint venture, the partners plan to make investments in the business to continue economic development and job growth in Skagway and the surrounding region. Carnival said these would not only benefit the local economy but Alaska's tourism industry as a whole.

Expansion of docking facilities

These investments will include support for expansion of docking facilities to accommodate the newest generation of cruise ships, a key to the port's long-term success.

The agreement has Survey Point continuing to manage WP&YR's day-to-day terminal operations and customer relations. Survey Point and its subsidiaries, Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska, Amak Towing and Southeast Stevedoring, have been actively engaged in Skagway operations for more than 40 years. Carnival Corp. & plc said the company will continue to enhance Skagway as a thriving cruise and shore excursion destination, and foster collaborative working relationships with the community and cruise lines that call.

'As the gateway to the legendary Klondike Gold Rush region, Skagway is beloved by our guests and crew for its warm hospitality and distinctively Alaskan array of sightseeing and recreational activities,' said Stein Kruse, CEO of Holland America Group and Carnival UK. 'We are delighted that the Skagway port will continue to be locally owned and independently operated by an Alaskan company. Along with Survey Point, we have a long and valued history in Alaska, and remain very committed to the continued development and success of the entire region as one our most popular destinations.'

The MOU also outlines that Survey Point, port operator P3 Group and Rail Management Services, an affiliate of Survey Point, will own a majority stake in the company, and Carnival will retain a minority position in the enterprise.

'Alaska is traditionally one of the three highest yielding markets in the world, and Carnival Corp.'s HAL and Princess brands combined lead in market share,' Wells Fargo Securities' Tim Conder said in a note. 'We believe CCL's move to further vertically integrate in Alaska is part of initial steps to expand capacity constrained shore/tour excursions in this key premium ''experiential'' market.'

Posted 07 June 2018

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Anne Kalosh

US editor of Seatrade Cruise Review and Seatrade Cruise News

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