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Searchlight Capital invests in Celestyal Cruises

CRUISE_Celestyal_Crystal.jpg
Celestyal Cruises operating two ships in 2022: Celestyal Crystal (above) and Celestyal Olympia
Celestyal Cruises is planning on expanding its operational footprint, including fleet renewal, after the cruise operator, along with parent company Louis plc, secured an investment injection from Searchlight Capital Partners.

Under the terms of the agreement, Searchlight will provide an initial tranche of €30m senior debt financing to Celestyal Cruises at closing and a €10m revolving credit facility.

The agreement provides for additional funding of up to €30m, subject to meeting certain conditions, to support  the development plans of the company, including fleet renewal.

Celestyal Holdings

As part of the partnership, Searchlight will invest into a new holding company, Celestyal Holdings.

Celestyal Cruises will continue to operate its fleet of two ships from its offices in Piraeus, Greece with its current global management team leading the business. The Louis Group will continue as a shareholder 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.

Strategic partner

Talking of Searchlight as a strategic partner, he said, ‘we 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.’

Theophilides noted the 2022 season is ‘looking solid.'

Searchlight partner Ralf Ackermann said, ‘The cruise industry has shown a tremendous amount of resilience coming out of the pandemic, and as Greece’s major, homeporting cruise line, Celestyal has played a pivotal role in the country’s strong tourism recovery.’

Louis Group

He added, ‘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.’

Costakis Loizou, executive chairman of the Louis Group noted, ‘Celestyal Cruises has always been a strong and robust regional expert, and a key component of our tourism portfolio and is destined for an even brighter future, and we look forward to being part of realising Celestyal’s full potential.’

Advisors

Louis plc was advised by financial advisors Houlihan Lokey, London; legal advisors Hill Dickinson, London and Chryses Demetriades, Cyprus; and tax advisors PricewaterhouseCoopers, Cyprus.

Searchlight was advised by legal advisors Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP; financial advisors Alvares & Marsal; tax advisors KPMG, insurance advisors Lockton; and technical advisors Renaissance Shipbroking.

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