Duesseldorf (Germany), 20 April 2009 – Waterland announced today that it acquired a majority stake by supporting a management buy-out of A-ROSA Flussschiff GmbH (A-ROSA), the leading German river cruise operator. Together with the management, Waterland intends to implement a buy & build strategy to reinforce A-ROSA’s leading position in this highly fragmented market.
A-ROSA is the leading brand in the German river cruise market. The company operates currently six vessels and plans to enter two new vessels into service in the course of 2009 and 2010. Its high-end river cruise offer comprises 10 different routes on the Danube and further 5 routes on the Rhone/Saone and is now being expanded to the river Rhine. The company was owned by Deutsche Seereederei GmbH Rostock (DSR).
Waterland supported a management buy-out by Mr Lars M. Clasen, Managing Director , and Mr Markus Zoepke, Chief Operating Officer of A-ROSA.
Industry experts estimate that the river cruise market on the European river systems has continuous growth potential, driven by the ageing population, increasing spends on leisure and luxury, high retention rates as well as expanding operating seasons of operators. A-ROSA is in the best position to capture an increasing share of that growth.
The ageing population and leisure & luxury are two of Waterland’s core investment areas. With the acquisition of A-ROSA Waterland continues its investment in outstanding travel companies. Waterland already acquired a majority stake in Windrose Fernreisen, earlier last year. Windrose, the leading German high-end luxury tour operator, is also active in marketing river cruises and thus provides further synergies for A-ROSA.
Jörg Dreisow, Principal of Waterland in Germany, commented: “the European river cruise market is highly fragmented, and consolidation is bound to come in the next years. With the help of A-ROSA’s management team, one of the best in the industry, we intend to implement our proven buy & build strategy to reinforce A-ROSA’s leading position in Europe and achieve significant synergies.
Lars M. Clasen commented: “we will work to further the development of A-ROSA in the river cruise market. We are excited to be partnering with Waterland who, next to their financial resources, can also offer us their extensive management experience”.
The transaction is awaiting approval from the German Cartel (Anti-Trust?) authorities. The parties agreed not to disclose financial details of the transaction.