Coronavirus-battered cruise operator Norwegian gets $400m L Catterton debt package amid doubts over company’s future

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Coronavirus-battered cruise ship operator Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has picked up a $400m investment from private equity house L Catterton for its subsidiary NCL Corp.

The investment came amid Norwegian casting doubts on its ability to relaunch, having closed its sailings until at least August 1 amid the global Covid-19 lockdown.

NCL said the impact of coronavirus included its “ability to raise sufficient capital and/or take other actions to improve our liquidity position, or otherwise meet our liquidity requirements that are sufficient to eliminate the substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern”.

The cruise industry has been hammered by the global pandemic, and has failed to access any US stimulus due to operators choosing to incorporate their businesses overseas.

Bermuda-incorporated Norwegian operates a fleet of 28 ships with more than 59,000 berths, and has planned to introduce another nine ships through to 2027.

L Catterton co-CEO Scoot Dahnke said, “The cruise industry has been very resilient over a long period of time, driven by strong secular tailwinds and a high level of guest satisfaction.

“People enjoy cruising, with many guests taking multiple voyages over time.

“The industry has overcome numerous challenges in the past, and we expect that the industry will rebound and prosper with even further enhancements to their already rigorous health and safety protocols in place in the future.

“Within the industry, the three brands of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings have carved out distinctive leadership positions in their respective markets, guided capably by Frank Del Rio and his exceptional management team.

“We couldn’t be more excited to support the team at Norwegian as they work through this suspension of travel and begin to commence operations after their voluntary suspension of voyages.”

L Catterton has agreed a $400m private placement of exchangeable senior notes, due 2026.

The deal will close on the condition the company raises at least $1bn in proceeds from other offerings, a statement detailing the deal said.

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