Carnival Launches New Spanish Brand, Pulls Plug On TUI Deal

Carnival Corp. and Orizonia Corporacion, a travel company in Spain, announced on Wednesday an agreement to partner on a new cruise brand called, Iberocruceros, which will consist of three ships, two from Orizonia and one from Carnival. The transaction is expected to close on September 14, with Carnival owning three-fourths of the company. Carnival's 1,486-passenger Celebration, which launched back in 1987, will join Iberocruceros in late spring 2008 after an extensive renovation. Orizonia's 1,244-passenger Grand Mistral and 834-passenger Grand Voyager round out the fleet.

In a statement, Carnival Corp. chairman and CEO, Micky Arison, called the new joint venture "a solid platform for expanding in the fast-growing European marketplace."

Meanwhile, on the same day Carnival announced its new venture in Spain, it announced a dead deal in Germany between itself and TUI AG, citing regulatory hurdles. Carnival and TUI had agreed to form a joint venture to develop a new cruise brand for the German-speaking market last December. Now that deal has been nixed. Carnival said that is would be difficult to close the deal this fiscal year and not doing so would create "adverse tax consequences for the company."

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