by Kevin Griffin of The Cruise People, London
According to reports from Cruise Industry News and Bloomberg, Hurtigruten could be on the block again, according to sources familiar with that company.
MS Spitsbergen – Hurtigruten (Ex Atlantida)
TDR, the British private equity firm which acquired a 90% interest in Hurtigruten in late 2014, is said to be talking to three potential buyers after having received unsolicited offers.
Since 2014, Hurtigruten has acquired and refurbished a new ship, the 335-berth Spitsbergen, in addition to refurbishing four existing ships. It has also more recently ordered two newbuildings, with an option for two more.
When TDR acquired Hurtigruten, the bid at the time valued the company at about $884 million, with in addition to TDR two existing shareholders, Norwegian investor Petter Stordalen and Trygve Hegnar’s Periscopus AS, with 5% each.
Each investor could see the value of their stake double if TDR succeeds in finding new buyers willing to pay a good price. That means the fund’s partners and investors could profit handsomely on a company that also receives large state subsidies. But Mr. Stordalen, known in Norway for his hotel investments, is said to think it is more likely that additional investors will buy into the company.
Strong results are said to have increased interest in the company, which reported an 18.3% increase in operating revenues and a 90.5% jump in operating profits last year. The company nonetheless logged a pre-tax loss because of large one-time charges tied to the acquisition and refinancing of the company in 2014.
Hurtigruten and TDR declined to comment on these reports.