UK sponsor Bridgepoint closes acquisition of Compagnie du Ponant

UK-based private equity group Bridgepoint Capital Limited said on Monday it had completed the purchase of Compagnie du Ponant, a French luxury cruise company renowned for its specialist polar cruises, without giving information on the value of the deal.

Bridgepoint signed an agreement on the deal on 31 July. The vendors are French maritime transport services group CMA CGM Group and its parent company, Beirut-based Merit Corp.

Compagnie du Ponant, which was set up in 1988, operates three luxury ships and expects the delivery of a fourth one in June 2013. Its vessels, with 32 to 132 cabins, sail particularly in the Arctic and the Antarctic. In 2011, the company carried 20,000 passengers and generated revenues of EUR80m (USD100.5m) with over 580 employees.

According to Bridgepoint, the polar cruise market offers significant growth opportunities as it is supported by rich customers in Europe and the US who have been less susceptible to the macroeconomic conditions. It added that it would provide resources to support the acquired company’s development and international growth.

The buyer was advised by Bucephale Finance, Ashurst LLP, Boston Consulting Group Inc, Ernst and Young LLP and Arsene Taxand on the deal, whereas Willkie Farr Gallagher LLP served as advisor to CMA CGM and Merit.

Bridgepoint focuses on the acquisition of companies, which are valued at up to EUR1bn and operate in attractive sectors with the potential to grow organically or through acquisition. Bridgepoint has invested in sectors such as business services, consumer, financial services, healthcare, media and industrial sectors. It has offices in Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Stockholm and Shanghai.