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MSC Group and Onorato Armatori reported to have ordered four large cruise ferries in China

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The Geneva based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) Group and Onorato Armatori, the Italian ferry company, have signed a contract with Guangzhou Shipyard International Co. (GSI) and China Shipbuilding Trading Co., (CSTC) to build four 2,500-passenger, 3,765-lane metre cruise ferries, the reports on its website. The contract includes an option for four additional vessels.

The new ships will be 229.50 metres in length and 32 metres wide with 534 cabins for up to 2,500 passengers, and can travel at a speed of 23.5 knots. They have been classed by RINA. Additionally, the vessels will feature a variety of environmentally friendly features including LNG-ready engines. The ship ship should enter service in 2020, the report said.

GSI and CSTC are subsidiaries of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC). Of the initial order for four: Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV), MSC Group’s Genoa, Italy-based ferry business, will receive the delivery of the first and third vessel, a statement said. Onorato Armatori will receive the second and fourth, Meditelegraph said.

Scenic orders second yacht with 2020 launch

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Following the extraordinary global interest in Scenic’s soon-to-launch Scenic Eclipse, Scenic has announced its flagship will be joined by a sister ship, Scenic Eclipse II.

"Scenic Eclipse II will further strengthen Scenic’s position as the leading innovator in the cruise industry, setting an unparalleled benchmark in design, luxury and technology," the company said in a statement.

Launching in 2020, Scenic Eclipse II will embark on her maiden voyage from Athens to Lisbon, before the debut sailing season, which will include the European and Russian Arctic, a region of diverse wildlife and habitat, well suited to discovery by Scenic’s fleet of 6-star luxury meets expedition ships.

Itineraries will include remote and long sought after destinations including Russia’s White Sea, a real treat for the explorers at heart, and a luxurious voyage that will more than satisfy those who long to experience the delights of an untamed territory; the Northwest Passage, which represents the pinnacle of Polar exploration; Southern Greenland, rarely visited with wilderness that offers some of the most spectacular and un-spoilt scenery anywhere on earth; and Alaska to Russia across the Bering Sea, to experience the stark beauty that this remote region has to offer.

Scenic Founder and Chairman, Glen Moroney said the expansion of Scenic’s ocean cruise fleet was a natural progression for the company and one he was very excited about.

“Since we first announced our foray into ocean cruising we have had unprecedented interest in Scenic Eclipse, from guests keen to experience our unique blend of 6-star luxury meets expedition cruising,” Moroney said.

“The debut of Scenic Eclipse II will not only allow us to expand our offering and pioneer new destinations, such as the Russian Arctic, it will also allow us to continue our passion for innovation in design and innovation in handcrafted itineraries, which we are confident will appeal to a wide variety of guests. Itineraries for the ship’s debut season will be released in April 2018,” he said.

Building will commence next year in Pula, Croatia, where Scenic Eclipse is currently under construction.

Scenic Eclipse II will be of similar design, including 114 all-verandah suites, nine restaurants, eight lounges and bars, a luxurious Spa Sanctuary, separate fitness areas and indoor, outdoor and plunge pools, as well as a marina deck, helicopters and a submarine.

The Scenic Eclipse fleet will be built to comply with the new International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Polar Code requirements, as well as to the highest international safety standards.

Utilising state-of-the-art technology and a host of safety features, including innovative zero-speed stabiliser fins that are than 50 per cent larger for even greater stability, the ship will have a rating of Ice Class 1A (Polar Class 6), the highest of any luxury vessel, which will ensure the safest navigation through polar waters.

The ship will also feature special “Safe Return to Port” capabilities, guaranteeing essential systems remain operational in the unlikely case of an incident.

Fincantieri signs an agreement with the French State for the acquisition of 50% of STX France

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Fincantieri S.p.A., through its subsidiary Fincantieri Europe S.p.A., signed today a share purchase agreement for the acquisition of 50% of the share capital of STX France from the French State, represented by the Agence des Participations de l'Etat (APE).

The signing takes place after the resolution of the share purchase agreement previously signed between Fincantieri and STX Europe on May 19, 2017 as a consequence of the exercise by the French State of its pre-emption right for the acquisition of the entirety of STX France share capital on July 28, 2017 and follows the signing of the share purchase agreement between the French State and STX Europe.

The acquisition by Fincantieri is subject to the closing of the transaction between the French State and STX Europe and to customary conditions for this kind of transactions.

The agreement provides for a purchase price of euro 59.7 million for Fincantieri, which shall be paid through available financial resources.

The signing is part of the agreement announced on September 27, 2017 by the Italian and French Governments regarding the future shareholding structure of STX France. Such agreement envisages the participation of Naval Group as a shareholder of STX France and represents an important first step towards the creation of a future alliance in both cruise and military naval sectors.

Pursuant to this agreement, upon closing the parties will also execute the shareholders agreement and the stock lending agreement relating to 1% of the share capital of STX France which will be lent by APE to Fincantieri upon terms and conditions already agreed between the parties.

After the closing of the transaction, the shareholding structure of STX France will be the following:
– Fincantieri (Fincantieri Europe S.p.A.): 50.00% (an additional 1% will be borrowed from APE)
– French State (APE): 34.34% (of which 1% to be lent to Fincantieri)
– Naval Group: 10.00% (or 15.66% if the employee ownership plan referred to below or/and the participation of a group of local companies cannot be implemented at the same time)
– STX France employees: up to 2.40%
– Local companies: up to 3.26%

The Board of Directors of STX France will be composed as follows:
4 members appointed by Fincantieri (including the Chairman and the CEO)
2 members appointed by the French State
1 member appointed by Naval Group
1 member appointed by the employees
The Chairman of the Board will have a casting vote.

With more than 150 years of history, STX France is a global player in maritime construction. Based in Saint-Nazaire, on the French Atlantic coast, the Group operates one of the most modern shipyards in the world and has great expertise in the design and engineering of the most complex and innovative ships. STX France has approximately 2,600 employees and a network of more than 500 subcontractors. In 2016 it generated revenues of approximately euro 1.4 billion.

Through this industrial partnership Fincantieri strengthens its leadership on the global market. The perfect complementarity of Fincantieri’s and STX France’s cruise activities and products would allow the two companies to serve all the clients and end-markets and to generate value not only for the shareholders, but also for the employees and the respective subcontractors’ networks.

Any change to the forecasts envisaged by Fincantieri 2016-2020 Business Plan will be evaluated and disclosed in accordance with current regulation.

Genting Hong Kong says Star Cruises, Crystal Cruises notice toughening competition

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Genting Hong Kong, the listed parent of the luxury cruise brand Crystal Cruises, Asia-Pacific focused premium market unit Dream Cruise and the Asia-Pacific focused Star Cruises contemporary market brand, said that the first and last named companies are facing the effects of toughening competition.

“Crystal Cruises faces significant competition in 2017, as competitors have launched new luxury ships, leading to approximately 16% increase in berth capacity in the luxury sector,” Genting Hong Kong said in a statement.

“The arrivals of new and large ships of competitors have caused smaller and older ships to relocate to ports where Star Cruises ships are positioned, creating downward pressures on occupancies and yields,” Genting Hong Kong said, adding that the situation is expected to improve as competitors have announced approximately 18% reduction in capacity by the end of this year.

Dream Cruises, launched slightly more than a year ago is performing well with improving occupancies and net yields in both the Hong Kong/Guangzhou and Singapore markets, Genting Hong Kong said.

One off items to narrow Genting Hong Kong loss to $240 million to $270 million in 2017

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Genting Hong Kong, the listed company that owns Crystal Cruises, Dream Cruise and Star Cruises, will report a much reduced for 2017 than the previous year due to one off items, the company said in a statement.

The group expects to record a consolidated net loss in the range of $240 million to $270 million for the year ended 31 December 2017, as compared to a consolidated net loss of US$537 million, excluding the share of results of Travellers, for the year ended 31 December 2016, Genting Hong Kong said in a statement.

The reduction in the forecast loss is mainly attributable to a one-off gain of $205 million in respect of the sale of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.’s shares and The Star Entertainment Group Limited’s shares and the absence of an impairment on NCLH shares of $305 million in 2016.

However, start-up losses in the Dream Cruises brand for World Dream arrived in Hong Kong and the re-positioning of Genting Dream to Singapore in November 2017, Crystal Cruises brand extensions in river cruises and the launch of AirCruises all weighed on the accounts.