British multi-billionaire and founder of the Virgin group, Richard Branson, is looking to move into cruise shipping, he told the German business daily Handelsblatt on Wednesday.

“We want to move into the cruise-shipping business with Virgin in the next few years,” Branson said.

“We are already in negotiations with shipyards in Italy and Germany on the construction of big ships for Virgin Cruises,” he said, adding that the chances that a German company could win a contract were “very good.”

The newspaper quoted industry sources as saying that Branson would invest about $1.7 billion in the project.

The ships could be launched by 2019, Branson said.