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RCCL revises 2015 earnings per share forecast slightly higher to $4.65-$4.85

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), the world's second largest cruise shipping group, said it has adjusted earnings per share (EPS) forecast for 2015 is expected to the range of $4.65 to $4.85 per share, which is slightly higher than previous guidance of $4.55. "Approximately $0.05 of the improvement is due to the combined effect of lower fuel costs offset by negative foreign exchange movements. The remainder of the difference is due to improved operational elements," the company said in a statement.

"Bookings over the past three months have been higher than prior year levels, and the company is experiencing a good, but typical WAVE season. Load factors and average per diems are both ahead of same time last year. In fact, the company’s booked position at the end of 2014 was the best such position in the company’s history," RCCL said.

The company continues to experience highly competitive Caribbean pricing through the first quarter, but pricing is expected to be up low single digits for the remainder of 2015. The company expects a Net Yield increase in the range of 2.5% to 4.5% on a Constant- Currency basis and in the range of down 0.5% to up 1.5% on an As-Reported basis for the full year.

NCC excluding fuel are expected to be up 1% or better on a Constant-Currency basis and down 1.5% to 0.5% on an As-Reported basis.

“On the revenue front, although the first quarter remains a challenge, we are pleased with the way our summer season in the Caribbean, Europe, China and Alaska is coming together,” said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer. “On the expense side, our on- going focus on driving efficiencies throughout the business provides us with the ability to keep our costs firmly in line with our Double-Double expectations while strategically investing in technology enhancements and growing markets, like China.”

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, the company currently estimates 2015 Adjusted EPS will be in the range of $4.65 to $4.85 per share. The company noted that since October, the fall in the price of oil has had a positive impact of $0.59 per share and the strengthening of the US Dollar has had a negative impact of $0.54 per share.

RCCL final quarter, full year 2014 net profit soar

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), the world's second largest cruise shipping group, has reported a sharp increase in both final quarter and full year 2014 net profit.

Group net profit rose to $109.7 million in the fourth quarter of last year from $7.0 million a year earlier. Revenues decreased a fraction, to $1.82 billion from $1.85 billion. For the full year, the group net profit increased to $764.1 million from $473.9 million in 2013 as revenues rose to $8.07 billion from $7.59 billion.

In the final quarter, Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis increased 2.7% versus guidance of 3.5%, driven by a weaker than anticipated Caribbean pricing environment.

"The strengthening of the US Dollar, net of fuel, reduced EPS by $0.07. Even though the worldwide price of crude oil dropped precipitously during the quarter, there is a lag between sharp movements in crude prices and the cost of fuel at-the-pump and bunker inventory on board our ships. Bunker pricing net of hedging for the fourth quarter was $660 per metric ton and consumption was 347,000 metric tons," RCCL said in a statement.

During the fourth quarter, tax reform in Spain eliminated limitations on the carry forward period for previously recognized net operating losses. This resulted in a net income benefit of $33.5 million, or $0.15 per share. This benefit had not been anticipated in the company’s guidance and, in accordance with the company’s past approach to such items, was excluded from Adjusted EPS.
Net Yields for the full year 2014 increased 2.4% on a Constant-Currency basis. Onboard revenue yields were up 3.8%.

Net cruise costs (NCC) excluding fuel were down 0.6% on a Constant-Currency basis, versus guidance of flat to slightly down. The average bunker price net of hedging for full year 2014 was $693 per metric ton and consumption was 1,367,000 metric tons.

Towards the end of 2014, the US Dollar strengthened while the price of fuel in world markets declined, but at a more dramatic rate. While the impact of currency is immediate, there is a lag before a change in the price of fuel flows through to the business. There continues to be a relationship between foreign exchange and fuel, but the offsets are not exact (especially in the short term) and fluctuations a near certainty. For 2014, the net impact of currency and fuel was a negative $0.07 to earnings relative to the latest guidance.

At the beginning of 2014, the company forecasted Adjusted Earnings of $3.20 to $3.40 per share. In the first and second quarter, foreign exchange moved in the company’s favor and the company increased the midpoint of its guidance to $3.45, largely to reflect that improvement. Later in the year, foreign exchange reversed direction, reversing the earlier benefit. The company’s final Adjusted EPS of $3.39 was at the top end of original guidance. Interestingly, foreign exchange movements netted to approximately zero by year-end.

Carnival Corporation and China Merchants Group signs MOU for two potential joint ventures to help expand the cruise industry in China

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest travel and leisure company, today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China Merchants Group (CMG) to explore the possibility of two joint ventures designed to accelerate the development and growth of the overall cruise industry in China.
The MOU outlines a potential strategic partnership between Carnival Corporation and CMG that includes exploring two possible joint ventures in support of China’s ambitions to grow the cruising industry in China and meet escalating demand for cruises amongst Chinese travelers:

– Ship-Owning Joint Venture: Carnival Corporation and CMG will explore a joint venture that would own and operate its own cruise ships as part of the first-ever domestic Chinese cruise line specifically targeted to the Chinese market. The joint venture would explore the possibility of sourcing new ships that are designed and built in China, along with the possibility of acquiring existing cruise ships.

– Port & Destination Development Joint Venture: In this potential joint venture, CMG and Carnival Corporation would collaborate to develop turnaround and transit ports within and around China beginning with a flagship port currently being developed by CMG called Prince Bay Cruise Terminal in Shekou, which is located in Shenzhen. The partners would work to have cruise ships sail from this flagship port, while also developing other cruise ship destinations across China and Northern Asia.

 “The MOU we signed today signifies a great opportunity to take the next step in the future of Chinese cruising, while addressing some key needs for both the cruise industry and its passengers in China,” said Alan Buckelew, COO of Carnival Corporation. “With CMG’s amazing track record, reach and influence in the market, we are working with a strategic partner that can help us explore immediate ways to impact cruise growth in China, including the possibility of a new Chinese cruise brand and new destinations.”
Carnival Corporation and CMG formalized their strategic partnership during an event held today at the Hilton Shenzhen Shekou, including an MOU signing ceremony involving Yang Tian Ping, general manager of China Merchants Shekou Industrial Zone, and Alan Buckelew, chief operations officer of Carnival Corporation. The ceremony was also attended by the vice president of China Merchants Group, Sun Cheng Ming, among other distinguished officials and guests.
CMG, China’s oldest state enterprise founded in 1872, focuses on transportation, infrastructure, financial services and real estate development, and has had a critical impact on the development of China’s economy over the company’s more than 140-year history. In support of China’s goal to become a preeminent global cruise market, CMG and Carnival Corporation are collaborating as strategic partners to develop the infrastructure required to help accelerate growth in the cruise industry, which is one of the key emerging industries that could help fuel China’s overall maritime economy.
While pursuing potential joint ventures to develop and grow the overall cruise market in China, Carnival Corporation remains committed to serving its Chinese guests who are already sailing on the two Carnival brands that give the company the cruise industry’s leading presence in China – Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises.
Carnival Corporation just recently announced its plans for immediate capacity growth in China in 2015 to meet growing demand. With Costa Cruises adding the Costa Serena in China in April of this year, Carnival Corporation will be the first global cruise company with four ships homeported in China. Costa Serena joins Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Sapphire Princess already homeported in China. Carnival Corporation is growing its leading market presence by 140 percent from 2013 – 2015 and expects to carry 500,000 cruise passengers in China in 2015.

All planned cruises of Deutschland cancelled as sale of ship not agreed

All cruises of Deutschland, the luxury market vessel operated by Peter Deilmann Reederei in Germany, have been cancelled as the administrator of the operator and the vessel’s owner has not been able to conclude a sale of the vessel, Deilmann said in a statement.

The shore based staff of Peter Deilmann will be laid off or dismissed, while the 22,496 gross ton ship that was built in 1998 will continue to maintain a 50 strong staff on board to secure the vessel.

Both the ship's operator and a separate company that owns it filed for bankruptcy at the start of the year.

RCCL to report final quarter and full year 2014 results on 29 January

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group, will report its final quarter and full year 2014 results on Thursday, 29 January.

Analysts in New York and in Oslo, where shares in the company are listed, expect earnings per share (EPS) to rise to $0.43 on average for the final quarter from $0.23 in the same period last year, figures on the company’s website show.

For 2014, they expect an increase in EPs to $3.48 from $2.40 in 2013.

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