The process with regards to exercising the preemptive rights of VCP’s shareholders has been finalized; therefore, entitling GPH to acquire 12.32% of the 30.79% VCP shares subject to preemptive rights. Accordingly, together with the 33.14% stake (as announced on September 22nd, 2015), GPH will control 55.60% of VCP, once all share transfers are completed.
The share transfers for the 33.14% and 12.32% of VCP’s stakes are subject to the ongoing legal and regulatory approvals.
The Company took over the cruise and ferry terminal operations in Valletta, Malta in 2002 in connection with a 65-year concession agreement which was awarded as a result of an international tender issued by the Government of Malta. The concession also includes a 65-year lease of 48,000 square meters of land and buildings adjacent to the quays. VCP, through its 90% subsidiary Travel Shopping Ltd. also runs duty-free operations in the port. Targeting a total passenger number of around 650,000 in 2015, the Company envisages to increase its home-porting activities parallel to the expected increase in the total number of passengers.
Located in Mid-Mediterranean, Malta has an important upside potential in the cruise sector, with its unique position for West-Med itineraries departing from Barcelona and Civitavecchia, as well as for East-Med itineraries departing from Istanbul and Piraeus. Hence, the total number of passengers is expected to reach 750,000 in 2016. The Company, which serves industry players such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises, MSC, Celebrity, TUI Cruises, and Costa, targets to increase its home-porting activities up from around 20% currently. In addition, the cruise market in Malta is expected to grow faster than the overall market in the medium term, with the potential addition of North-African destinations back to itineraries.
In addition to the expected increase in the cruise activities, the Company is also currently assessing a second phase investment in the development of office and retail areas, totaling 12,000 sqm within the concession territory.
Saygın Narin, the CEO of GPH stated: “We are pleased to be the majority shareholder in VCP. Based on its unique location, Malta has a high potential to grow faster than the overall cruise market. Meanwhile, VCP has the ability to generate over US$10mn of revenues and around US$5mn of EBITDA annually, which should be enhanced in line with its potential, contributing to our financial performance in the coming periods”. Arpak Demircan, Deputy CEO of GPH said “With the two consecutive acquisitions of Malta and Dubrovnik, we expect our total passenger number to reach c.5mn by 2015 year-end, which corresponds to a remarkable c.19% market share in the Mediterranean”.