Compagnie du Ponant bought by equity firm

idgepoint has completed the acquisition of French niche cruise company Compagnie du Ponant.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, was clinched with container shipping giant CAM CGM via its parent company Mérit.

Founded in 1988 and with over 580 employees, Compagnie du Ponant carried 20,000 passengers and achieved revenues of €80 million last year on its three ships. A fourth vessel is due for delivery in June 2013.

Bridgepoint said it will provide the company with resources to fulfil its growth ambitions and to expand internationally.

“The company enjoys global market leadership by volume in the polar cruise segment thanks to the specialist nature of its vessels,” a statement said.

“It is also the clear leader in the French-speaking European market - France, Belgium and Switzerland.

“The luxury cruise market of the type served by CDP is a growing and resilient niche with global demand supported by an affluent customer base in Europe and the US that has been less sensitive to the macroeconomic environment.

“The polar cruise market in particular enjoys significant demand, yet capacity is limited due to the specialist nature of ships able to operate there.”

The management, led by co-founder Jean Emmanuel Sauvée and Véronique Saadé, will play an “active part” in the new stage of it