Essel enters cruise business, plans to invest up to $100 m 

Last Updated: Monday, September 3rd, 2018 - 11:18 ---- News Source - The Economic Times

Subhash Chandra’s media and entertainment to education and finance conglomerate, Essel Group, is looking to invest more than $100 million (Rs 710 crore) in an entirely new business for it: cruise tourism.

Chandra has set up a company, Zen Cruises, and roped in industry veteran Jurgen Bailom as its president. “As an industry leader, we feel the proliferation of cruise tourism will bring one million jobs in the next 3-4 years. We will provide a home-grown alternative for Indians, who are presently going abroad to enjoy cruises,” the Essel Group chairman said.

The cruise line will operate under the brand ‘Jalesh’, or the God of Waters. The company is expected to have a premium luxury line and a separate affordable line.

While the official launch of Zen Cruises is still several months away — the first voyage is expected by September-October next year — the company has purchased its first ship. The Pacific Jewel, a 70,285-tonne, 2,000-passenger ship was previously owned by Carnival Corporation and operated by P&O Cruises Australia.
“We have purchased a vessel, which is a very good hardware and in very good condition. It’s a significant investment and cruising is an expensive investment,” Bailom told ET. The vessel is currently under refurbishment and will be introduced with a new name in May 2019. The company has plans to buy more ships.
“We have very aggressive investment plans, well into the $100 million range, which is the cost of ship and everything else included,” he said. “We have a very clear idea, but when you enter in to a venture like this, a one-ship operation won’t be successful,” said Bailom.

News Source - The Economic Times


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