Société Générale acted as lead mandated lead arranger on a €2.524 billion ($2.862 billion) financing package for MSC Cruises. The funds will be used to finance construction of three new vessels: MSC World Class 1 and 2 and a fifth vessel in the company’s Meraviglia Class of ships.

MSC will also use the facility as post-delivery financing in respect of 80% of the total cost of construction of the three vessels.

Other lenders in the syndicate included Citibank as initial mandated lead arranger and BNP Paribas, HSBC France, Banco Santander and Unicredit AG as mandated lead arrangers. ECA support was provided by Bpifrance Export Assurance.

The World Class vessels will be the largest cruise ships in the world by passenger numbers. All three vessels are being built at Chantiers de l’Atlantique in St Nazaire, France, with World Class 1 due for delivery in 2022, Meraviglia 5 in 2023 and World Class 2 in 2024.

Watson Farley & Williams advised MSC Cruises as a long-standing client on the transaction. The London Maritime team who advised the company was led by Partner and Global Maritime Group Head Lindsey Keeble, with Partner Robert Platt advising on the shipbuilding contracts and both supported by Senior Associate Emily Widdrington and Associate Philip Chope.

Keeble commented, “We’re pleased to have once again been able to advise MSC Cruises on successfully financing these new additions to their fleet, this time involving what will be the world’s largest cruise ships to date.”