Capvis embarks with river cruise operator nicko tours

Zurich, 28 January 2013 - Capvis, the leading private equity firm in Switzerland, has agreed on the purchase of a majority stake in the nicko tours group with headquarters in Switzerland. The founder and owner of the river cruise specialist, Ekkehard Beller, will retain a significant stake in the company and will continue his involvement as a member of the board of directors. With Capvis as catalyst and by bringing his companies under one umbrella, Mr. Beller looks to provide the company with a new platform for future growth. Wiebke Harms, director of sales & marketing, will succeed Mr. Beller as managing director.

The nicko tours group achieved a turnover of EUR 115 million with around 80,000 passengers in 2012. The company employs around 70 people. The purchase is subject to approval by antitrust authorities.

European market leader for river cruises nicko tours is the leading specialist for river cruises in German-speaking Europe. Through its 33 ships it operates the largest fleet and provides the broadest product offering in Europe. While the company has historically been known as a specialist for river cruises in Russia and the Ukraine, it has under the leadership of Mr. Beller continuously expanded its product offering to include over 40 routes in Europe, Asia and Africa. The company covers the entire value chain from developing and marketing tours to ship operations. The company’s success is underpinned by the two mega-trends demography and leisure.

Shared growth aspirationsUlrich Eckhardt, partner at Capvis Equity Partners AG, about the investment, “nicko tours is an excellent addition to the Capvis portfolio as the transaction fits the sweet spot as a local champion sold in the context of a succession solution. We are extremely proud to be able to support the continued growth trajectory of this unique company as partners.” nicko tour’s annual passenger growth of more than 30% over the past ten years is a clear indication that comfortable river cruises with high culinary and cultural standards are increasing in popularity.

Ekkehard Beller is delighted about the involvement of Capvis, “I have found Capvis to be a private equity firm with Swiss virtues such as professionalism and cooperation focused on sustainable growth strategies.” Continuity is ensured as Ms. Harms, director of sales & marketing, will succeed Mr. Beller as managing director. She has been with nicko tours for ten years and has more than thirty years of industry experience. Mr. Beller will continue his involvement as a member of the board of directors of nicko tours AG.

For additional information please contact:

Capvis Equity Partners AG
Ulrich Eckhardt
Talacker 42
8022 Zürich
Tel. +41 43 300 58 58
Email: press@capvis.com

nicko tours Gruppe
Pressekontakt:
IT-PR UG
Ingo Thiel
Tel. +49 40 32 80 96 0
Email: thiel@it-pr.de

About nicko tours

nicko tours is the leading specialist for river cruises in Germany-speaking Europe. Through its 33 ships it operates the largest fleet and provides the broadest product offering in Europe. For the 2013 season the company’s product offering includes over 40 routes in Europe, Asia and Africa on rivers such as the Danube, Rhine, Elbe, Rhône, Seine, Douro, Po, Volga, Dnieper, Nile and Yangtze. The company achieved a turnover of EUR 115 million with around 80,000 passengers in 2012. The nicko tours group employs around 70 people. The nicko tours group includes nicko tours GmbH in Stuttgart, Germany as well as Alpina River Cruises GmbH, Bernina River Cruises GmbH and RCM River Cruises Management GmbH, all based in Switzerland. You can find out more about nicko tours at www.nicko-tours.com.

About Capvis

Capvis is the leading private equity firm in Switzerland and one of the most active investors in German-speaking Europe. With a current fund volume of EUR 600 million, Capvis invests primarily in majority stakes in leading medium-sized companies. Capvis aims to support management teams in releasing entrepreneurial potential and achieving new levels of excellence. Since 1990 Capvis has completed 43 transactions with a total volume of more than EUR 3 billion. Capvis has floated nine companies on stock exchanges and has repeatedly been voted Switzerland’s best private equity firm by the international financial press. You can find out more about Capvis.

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