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Costa Crociere becomes first cruise company to set up wholly-owned foreign enterprise for cruise services in China

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Costa Crociere S.p.A. will establish the cruise industry’s first wholly-owned foreign enterprise (WOFE) in China. The new company will be located in Shanghai, Costa’s home port city in China, offering commercial and financial services to local travel partners and passengers, such as marketing, ticketing and collection.

"We are proud to be the first cruise company to set up a WOFE in China. Since 2006, when Costa was the first cruise company to enter the Chinese cruise market, Costa has worked closely with local government authorities to continuously propel the development of the Chinese cruise industry and act as a market pioneer in opening up new prospects. The WOFE status is our new instrument to develop business in China and enhance our commitment to long-term development in this marketplace. I would like to thank for this important achievement the local government authorities, in particular the Ministry of Transport and the Shanghai Municipality," said Mr. Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman and CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A.

Gianni Onorato, President of Costa Crociere S.p.A., added: "As the leading player in the market and an innovative cruise company, we always seek new ways to operate, establish new cruise itineraries, as well as to develop new cruise experiences for our Chinese passengers. In the past six years of our operation in China, we have achieved most of these targets thanks to the efforts and cooperation extended by the local authorities, in particular the Ministry of Transport and the Shanghai Municipality. With the new WOFE’s support, we are confident we will entice more Chinese consumers to experience the extraordinary holidays offered on our cruise ships, including the upcoming Costa Victoria, which will be deployed in China in 2012." 

Being the first international cruise company to enter the Chinese market, Costa has become one of the best recognized, beloved and most popular tourism brands in the country. By October 2011, more than 170,000 Chinese passengers travelled on Costa’s Italian Style inspired cruises.

In the year 2011, the China Ministry of Transport revised the Approval of Foreign-owned Shipping Company Interim Measures and granted permission to foreign cruise companies operating in China to establish wholly-owned institutions. Once again, Costa becomes the pioneer to receive approval under the new government regulation. Costa’s new WOFE status will have the scope of soliciting passengers, issuing tickets, processing proceeds and payment in RMB.

On 18th November, Gianni Onorato, President of Costa Crociere S.p.A. attended the grand ceremony held jointly with Shanghai Municipality, HongKou District and other influential local authorities to celebrate the establishment of the new WOFE.

Cruise Shipping Asia called success by participants

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines
The premiere edition of Cruise Shipping Asia closed yesterday, with participants -- cruise line representatives and exhibiting companies -- agreeing the event holds great promise for the future of the cruise industry in the Asia-Pacific region. The three-day conference and trade show, held at the Marina Bay Expo Centre in Singapore, attracted attendees from across the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of world.

Cruise Shipping Asia 2012 is scheduled for October 17-19, 2012, and will be held in Singapore.

Organized by UBM, the event included a full conference program of panel discussions, a trade fair, business-matching program and travel agent training sessions.

"We were very pleased with the level of excitement and interaction between the attendees over the three days of conference sessions, trade show activity and social functions," said Michael Kazakoff, vice president of UBM Live, organizers of the series of the world's leading cruise events. "As cruise lines commit more and newer tonnage to Asia, growth will accelerate, and Cruise Shipping Asia provided and will continue to provide in the future, an excellent platform for learning, networking and creating business opportunities."

The tone of the conference and trade show was upbeat. Under the theme of "Gateway to Tomorrow's Marketplace," the conference focused on the growth potential of the pan-Asia region and how to accommodate the rapid market expansion predicted for the Asian cruise business.

"There is no doubt that the Asia Pacific region for the cruise industry is a giant that is awakening, it will take time and investment and planning," said Michael Duck, executive vice president of UBM Asia. "This event has shown that there is a tremendous interest, but one or two companies cannot grow the interest on their own, it needs a platform which CSA provides to all parties to prove to countries, regions, ports and other stakeholders that the infrastructure needs to be in place, and that the market needs educating both in terms of potential customers and the travel industry itself."

"Asia holds promising opportunities for the cruise industry, and the inaugural Cruise Shipping Asia event gives us all a foothold in shaping what comes next," said Michael Bayley, executive vice president, international, Royal Caribbean International. "From port infrastructure development to attracting tourists from around the world, our industry can be instrumental in Asia's future growth."

Among the exhibiting tourism organizations were the Japan National Tourist Organization, Korean Tourism Organization, Tourism Malaysia and the Philippine Department of Tourism.

"Exhibiting at Cruise Shipping Asia offered us a phenomenal platform to continue conversations with existing contacts as well as serve as a starting point to develop new business opportunities in the region," said Jordi Floreta, vice president and managing director of TEAM Ports & Maritime. TEAM is the current supplier of three passenger boarding bridges for the new Singapore Cruise Centre.

Costa Crociere S.p.A. announced today at the closing session of Cruise Shipping Asia that it has established the cruise industry's first wholly owned foreign enterprise in China. The new company will be located in Shanghai, Costa's home port city in China, offering commercial and financial services such as marketing, ticketing and collection to local travel partners and passengers.

Cruise-industry suppliers exhibiting at Cruise Shipping Asia include Singapore Cruise Centre Asia Cruise Services Network, TEAM ports & maritime, Intercruises Shoreside and Port Services, Sembawang Shipyard, and Inflot Worldwide. A complete list of participating companies and organizations is available athttp://www.cruiseshippingasia.com/exhibitor-list1.

Regent Seven Seas’ third quarter net profit falls to $19.5 million

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the luxury cruise operator in the Prestige Cruise Holdings group, has reported a fall in third quarter net profit of $19.5 million from $27.0 million in the same period last year. However, the company less capacity in the latest quarter due to dry docking of a vessel, it said in a statement.

Commenting on the third quarter, the Company’s Chairman and CEO, Frank Del Rio, stated, “Regent’s luxury cruise experience continues to be very well received by both our guests and travel agency partners. We are thrilled with the record occupancy and yields we were able to obtain in the third quarter.”

“The Seven Seas Voyager’s drydock in September completes the ambitious $100 million plus upgrade program that we embarked upon nearly four years ago, and we believe the results are impressive. We continue to invest in our luxury fleet to provide our guests with the best possible vacation experience," he continued.

“Net Yield for the third quarter of 2011 was up 3.9%driven by higher pricing with Net Per Diem up 3.0% and occupancy increasing 0.8 percentage points. In the third quarter of 2011, we had a 6.8 percent reduction in capacity caused by a 17-day scheduled drydock for Seven Seas Voyager. There were no drydocks in the third quarter of 2010,” the company said.

Adjusted EBITDA was $40.6 million on revenue of $151.3 million for the third quarter of 2011, compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $47.5 million on revenue of $152.1 million for the third quarter of 2010.

Other key operating metrics for the third quarter of 2011 compared to the prior year are as follows:

Net Cruise Cost, excluding Fuel and Other expense, per APCD decreased 1.7%, to $278 in 2011 compared to $283 in 2010, mainly due to decreases in repair and maintenance expense and selling and administrative expense. Fuel expense increased 44.7%, or $3.0 million, reflecting higher prices. 

“Our economic hedging strategy was able to partially offset this increase, as we recognized a $1.3 million cash benefit on executed fuel hedge contracts during the quarter that offset 42.8% of the price increase. The realised gain of fuel derivatives was recorded in other income (expense) as these instruments do not qualify for hedge accounting.

Other expense was up $5.0 million primarily attributable to a 17-day scheduled drydock for the Seven Seas Voyager in 2011. There were no drydocks in the third quarter of 2010.

Revenues, profit weaken at NYK’s cruise business

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Both revenues and profit of the cruise operations of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) declined in the second quarter of the Tokyo based shipping giant’s financial year.

The group, which operates Asuka II on the Japanese market and Crystal Cruises with two upmarket vessels mainly on the US market, reported recurring profit of 0.2 billion yen for its cruise business, compared to a profit of 1.1 billion a year earlier. Revenues fell to 10.1 billion yen from 11.1 billion. The company’s financial year ends on 31 March.

“In the Japanese market, Asuka II suffered from weak demand following the earthquake, and the load factor declined from the previous year. In the North American market, Crystal Cruises enjoyed sales during the peak summer season and enjoyed a high load factor on par with the previous year. Costs rose, however, due to higher fuel prices. Overall, the Cruises segment posted lower revenues and earnings compared with the same period of the previous year,’ NYK said.

Higher bunker costs drag Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines to third quarter loss

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, the UK based operator of four medium sized cruise ships, blamed high bunker costs for a net loss of NOK22 million it booked for the third quarter of the year, compared to a profit of NOK 19 million in the same period in 2010.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciations and amortisations) also declined, to NOK 96 million from NOK 132 million, show figures of parent company Bonheur ASA, which is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.

For the first nine months of the year, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines booked a net loss of NOK 13 million, which was a marked reduction from a NOK 22 million loss in the same period year earlier. EBITDA for the same period amounted to NOK 196 million, a reduction from NOK 228 million a year earlier.

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