Cruise line CMV in talks for funds to keep it afloat

Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), which employs about 4,000 people, is in talks with lenders and other creditors about a rescue deal, Sky News reported late last week.

The UK-based cruise line is in race against time to secure funding to keep itself afloat, the report claimed.

CMV, which is based in Essex and counts the Columbus and Marco Polo among its fleet, was attempting to finalize new financing before the end of last week.

It hit additional problems on Friday when the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) boarded several ships operated by CMV over alleged non-payment of wages and contract expirations.

They said that Novalpina Capital, a private equity firm, had been trying to structure a deal for several weeks with CMV’s existing creditors. The talks are said to have been abandoned last week when Barclays Bank decided not to offer a £25m state-backed loan under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

Carnival Corp was said to be among CMV’s creditors.

CMV borrowed about €60m from Australian Bank Macquarie in February. Sky reported that people close to Macquarie said it had provided further support to the company by waiving interest payments and advancing additional funds to support salary payments to crew, as well as repatriation efforts.

An undisclosed number of CMV crew members were still on board its ships and needed to be repatriated. A number of Indian crew on vessel Astoria said that they were stranded at Tilbury and that they had not been paid.

CMV was established just over a decade ago. A CMV spokeswoman said that “as the majority of other cruise lines have already done or are presently doing, CMV is also looking for additional financing to improve its liquidity position until sailing will resume again. As such CMV is presently in discussions and negotiations with a number of financial institutions and banks and is confident to finalize these discussions very shortly and so is unable to comment on or disclose details of these discussions with individual parties until they are finalized.”

AlixPartners and Duff & Phelps have both been advising various stakeholders on CMV’s financial position in recent months.

A source close to Barclays told Sky that it had tried to put a CLBILS loan in place, but that it had ultimately concluded that one was not workable.