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Tourism

Celestyal Cruises and Louis Group Partner with Searchlight Capital

November 29, 2021

ATHENS – Celestyal Cruises, the award-winning, number one choice for cruise travelers to the Greek Islands and the Eastern Mediterranean, and its parent company, Louis plc, a leading Cyprus-based tourism organization, are pleased to announce a definitive strategic investment agreement with funds managed by Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P., a leading global private investment firm.

As part of the partnership, Searchlight will make an investment into a new holding company, Celestyal Holdings. This will enable Celestyal Cruises to amplify its brand globally, build upon its success to-date and expand its operational footprint whilst growing and renewing its fleet. 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. “We are extremely pleased to have Searchlight as a strategic partner and 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. Our 2022 season is already looking solid and with this significant development, we are extremely excited about Celestyal’s journey ahead.”

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

“Celestyal Cruises has always been a strong and robust regional expert, and a key component of our tourism portfolio,” said Costakis Loizou, Executive Chairman of the Louis Group. “With the added financial resources of Searchlight, Celestyal is destined for an even brighter future, and we look forward to being part of realizing Celestyal’s full potential.”

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.

Celestyal Cruises has fast built an award-winning reputation and earned recognition as the number one choice for cruise travelers to the Greek Islands and East Mediterranean thanks to its regional expertise and exceptional hospitality. The company operates two vessels, each one intimate enough to provide guests with a genuine and highly personalized experience. The foundation of the company’s philosophy is built on a unique Greek heritage which combines outstanding hospitality with genuine cultural destination immersion and provides authentic, lifetime experiences both onboard and onshore.

About Searchlight Capital Partners

Searchlight is a global private investment firm with more than $9 billion in assets under management and offices in New York, London and Toronto. Searchlight seeks to invest in businesses where its long-term capital and strategic support accelerate value creation for all stakeholders. For more information, please visit www.searchlightcap.com.

About Louis Group

One of the leading tourism and leisure groups in Southeast Europe, Louis Group is known for consistent high-quality services, deep market insight and many years of leading experience. Founded in 1935 by the ‘father of tourism’ in Cyprus, the late Louis Loizou, the company now employs around 4,000 professionals. Applying their experience to a full spectrum of tourism services, Louis Group owns and manages hotels, restaurants, cruises and ground handling services at Cyprus international airports, as well as a range of IATA offices. Predominantly operating in Cyprus and Greece, the Group also has a growing presence worldwide.

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