Anglo-Eastern Univan Group has signed a letter of intent to buy Miami-based Cruise Management International, one of the largest third-party managers of expedition cruise ships.

Anglo-Eastern said in a media statement released on Wednesday that it had reached an agreement with the shareholders of CMI to buy over the entire share capital of the company, which will continue to be based in Miami.

CMI executives told cruise industry media that it would be “business as usual” for the company, which provides a mix of technical, hotel and commercial management services to around a dozen cruise ships, the majority of which are polar-classed expedition cruise ships that are owned by affiliate company SunStone Ships.

The acquisition is expected to be finalised in July 2022, “following the standard due diligence,” Anglo-Eastern said.

Both companies described Anglo-Eastern as having the scale, reputation, and technical capability to develop CMI further.

Anglo-Eastern also gains a significant stake in the cruise sector, thus joining rivals such as V Ships and Bernhard Schulte Ship Management, both of which have strong cruise management portfolios.

“Anglo-Eastern believes its values mirror those of CMI and is delighted to have found the opportunity to extend its ship management operations into a new sector, with the acquisition of such respected operators,” the company said.

CMI’s roots stretch back to the 1980s when it was known as International Shipping Partners (ISP) and managed a collection of older cruise ships and ferries.

Focus was switched to expedition cruise ships in the early 2000s.

In 2012 ISP was split, with the shipowning activities moving to SunStone Ships and the ship management activities run under the banner of FleetPro International.

FleetPro merged with European cruise manager River Advice in 2014, at which time private equity interests bought into the company.

ISP co-founder Niels-Erik Lund, together with other investors described as stakeholders in the individual ships owned by SunStone, bought over FleetPro the following year, at which time it was rebranded as CMI.