When cruise ships are a boost to the French economy


With more than 25 million cruise tourists expected in 2017 according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the sector has more wind in its sails than ever.

It is with this in mind that the world’s third largest cruise line, the Italian-Swiss ship owner MSC Cruises, is strengthening its fleet by ordering two new vessels dubbed Meraviglia Plus. Each of these giants of the seas will be able to carry up to 5,700 passengers and will count 1,550 staff on board. These ships were designed to be at the cutting edge of innovation; their original design is impressively efficient while having a minimal impact on the environment.

The coordination perfectly orchestrated by Societe Generale enabled to raise the necessary funds under attractive financial conditions. Above all, it has brought to our Company the token of stability and trust necessary to offer to all our clients the financial means allowing them to order very large vessels.

Laurent Castaing, General Manager, STX France

In addition to being a boon to the ship owner and to future tourists, this order is also excellent news for employees of STX France, the shipbuilder chosen to oversee construction, which has already worked with MSC on numerous occasions. This contract is the most recent addition to a full order book for the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, with 13 vessels to deliver for a total value of €14 billion. The construction of the Meraviglia Plus vessels will require 16 million hours of work, both for the shipbuilder and for its subcontractors based in Western France.

Funding of €1.6 billion was needed in order for this exciting project to come to fruition. Drawing on its extensive expertise in the area, Societe Generale participated in the financing as global coordinator and facility agent. With this collaboration, Societe Generale is celebrating the financing of its 56th and 57th ships and affirming its role as a leader in the sector. The bank has once again provided its client with an innovative solution for this large-scale transaction that is particularly complex, notably in the structuring of its financing.

The delivery of the two vessels is scheduled for November 2019 and October 2020 respectively. Societe Generale is proud to partner with MSC Cruises and to support the French economy and the maritime sector through this transaction.