Melbourne River Cruises
Melbourne River Cruises business is up for sale. Photo – supplied.
  • Tourism has had a very tough year, but is set to rebound
  • The Melbourne River Cruise business has been in the same family for 40 years
  • Asset replacement value alone of the seven vessels is $12 million

In an environment with various lockdowns and no international tourism, it has been difficult to keep some businesses afloat. Especially those that rely on the tourist dollar.

To an optimist, the Melbourne River Cruises business that plies its trade along the Yarra River is an opportunity to take advantage of the post-pandemic tourism recovery.

Early signs are good, as Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said average pedestrian activity across the city over the recent long weekend was up by 19.1% compared to the same days the previous week. The numbers included people from regional Victoria and across Melbourne.

Melbourne River Cruise (MRC) is one of the city’s most recognised businesses. Owned and operated by the same family since the 1980s, a new owner can take the helm.

Melbourne River Cruises
Photo supplied.

Executive Director, MRC, Evan Lavdas, said the business had been an extremely important family business, achieving many milestones in terms of customer satisfaction, growth, and development.

“MRC commenced operating with one boat and now operates a fleet, plus Melbourne’s only iconic floating restaurant,” he said.

“The importance of our business … providing the public boating access to Melbourne waterways that not only showcases Melbourne but is, in fact, part of the fabric of Melbourne that contributes socially, culturally and economically.

“This adds enormous value to Melbourne’s business precinct and should be seen as a major asset that will continue to operate, be valued, enjoyed, and appreciated until the river runs dry!”

Evan Lavdas, Executive Director, MRC

The business comes with a fleet of seven vessels (replacement cost $12 million) and can cater for groups of 30 to 180, fully licensed to serve food and alcohol.

The vessels are specially constructed to handle the cruising environment of the Yarra River with its low bridges, and are to the certified standards of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Another key asset of the business is its exclusive mooring spots along the river.

The current owners recognise the business has a bright future but, with younger family members going in other directions, the option to continue is not there.

The family is seeking a buyer with the passion and energy to take over.

“Selling this business will be very difficult due to the many memories created. It has been the family’s pride and joy and has yielded many financial benefits and celebrated many achievements and milestones along the way.

“Ideally, the next person or investors will be enterprising visionaries like the original founder, that will be able to take advantage of the opportunities of this waterway’s tourism, hospitality and transport business, and the growing market.

“Investors that have the genuine resources and appropriate business credentials, acumen, and appropriate strategies should significantly grow the business to its enormous potential,” Mr Lavdas said.

The sale is being arranged through Choon Ng of Xcllusive Business Sales.

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