MIAMI -- Cruise Holdings Ltd., the parent company of Premier
Cruises, named international investor Ike Kier chairman. The
announcement was made by president and chief executive officer
Larry Magnin. Kier replaces Premier founder Kristian Stensby, who
remains on the board.
The board also invited Henrik von Platen, a Swedish shipping
executive, into its ranks, bringing the board's membership to
An executive close to the company said the moves would increase
investor confidence in Premier as it seeks to raise about $175
million in high-yield, private-placement bonds, possibly within a
Magnin confirmed that another goal of the company in 1998 is to
issue an initial public offering of its stock.
He said that Stensby had requested to be relieved as chairman
while retaining his investment in the company and board
Stensby, a former Norwegian shipping and cruise line executive,
put together Cruise Holdings in 1996 as a platform for operating
and marketing midsize, vintage liners. He is one of the three
principal investors in the company who together own a 72% share,
Magnin said. Other investments came from Norwegian financial
institutions and individuals, he added.
News of Stensby's resignation as chairman came as the company
said it was backing out of a previously announced deal to acquire
the Regent Sun of bankrupt Regency Cruises, raising questions about
Premier's financial condition. But Magnin said the dropping of the
deal for the ship was unrelated to Stensby's departure. "The bank
owning the ship would not allow us to take a critical look at all
the engineering areas, and the costs promised to escalate out of
Magnin said that Premier's booking status was strong, with 87%
of inventory booked for the first quarter and 40% for the year The
company has grown rapidly since 1996, when it acquired an interest
in Seawind Cruises and purchased Carnival Cruise Line's Festivale,
now the Island Breeze.
Early in 1997, it acquired Dolphin Cruise Line and its three
ships. And last April, it acquired Premier Cruise Line and its
remaining Big Red Boat, the Oceanic. In October, it acquired
Holland America Line's former flagship, the Rotterdam V, which it
renamed the Rembrandt.