River cruises

British investor buys leading German firm Arosa

One of Germany’s leading river cruise companies, Arosa Flusskreuzfahrten, is being sold by its private equity owner to a British investor, Duke Street, fvw has reported exclusively.

January 11, 2018
The Flora is one of Arosa’s premium river cruise vessels.
Photo: Neptunwerft

Waterland Private Equity, which bought a majority stake in Arosa in 2009 as part of a management buyout, will sell this entire holding to the London-based investment firm. The value of the transaction, which needs regulatory clearance, is not being disclosed.

“We’re delighted to have found in Duke Street a new investor who will further support the growth of Arosa Flusskreuzfahrten,” commented Jörg Dreisow, Managing Partner of Waterland.

Over the last nine years, Waterland has supported Arosa’s growth. The Rostock-based river cruise specialist has expanded its fleet from six to 11 vessels and developed into the leading firm for premium river cruises. Arosa had 85,000 passengers in 2016/17, generated turnover of €87.5 million and makes solid profits.

Arosa’s cruises on rivers such as the Rhine, Danube, Rhone and Seine are mostly targeted at up-market passengers, although it has been trying to win more families. The company describes its cruises, which stop at major cities and smaller towns, as “alternative city trips”.

Arosa CEO Jörg Eichler said: “Thanks to the partnership with Waterland we have continually strengthened our leading position in Europe in recent years.”

Eicher will now hope that the new British owners are ready to invest in further expansion of the fleet, which has reached its capacity limits, and be open to new ideas. The experienced German tourism manager, formerly with TUI and Aida Cruises, would like to introduce a new concept in the river cruises sector. This would be a so-called ‘family holidays boat’ with more space and new services for passengers.

The Arosa acquisition is the only activity of Duke Street in the tourism sector at present. However, between 2003 and 2005 the private equity firm supported the expansion of the budget hotel chain B&B. Its focus lies mostly in the healthcare and lifestyle sectors.

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