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NCLH slightly raises 2017 guidance to EPS of $3.79 to $3.89, but warns of China uncertainties

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), the world’s third largest cruise shipping group, has slightly raised its guidance for full year 2017 earnings per share (EPS) and it forecasts a record result for the year.

However, a senior company official warned about the possible negative impact of tension between China and South Korea to operations of Norwegian Joy, the company’s latest ship that is tailored to the Chinese source market.

“The Company expects to generate record earnings for full year 2017 and has increased its outlook, with Adjusted EPS now expected to be in the range of $3.79 to $3.89,” NCLH said in a statement. When the company published its final quarter and full year 2016 results, it forecast 2017 EPS in the range of $3.75 to $3.85. In 2016, the figure came at $2.78.

“2017 full year Adjusted Net Yield growth guidance on a Constant Currency basis increased 100 basis points to 2.75%,” the company added.

“A strong end to the most successful Wave season in recent history resulted in a meaningful improvement in our full year booked position, with both occupancy and pricing now well ahead of prior year," said Wendy Beck, executive vice president and chief financial officer of NCLH

 "I am pleased to report that the strong performance witnessed in our core markets and reflected in first quarter results also extended to our booked business in future quarters, allowing us to increase our full year Adjusted EPS and Adjusted Net Yield growth guidance,” she said.

 “This positive momentum has been partially offset by recent uncertainties in Norwegian Joy's Chinese source market caused by the South Korea travel restriction. Taking all factors into account, we are on track to deliver another year of solid financial performance and double-digit Adjusted EPS growth," she concluded

NCLH first quarter profit falls as costs rise faster than yields

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH), the third largest cruise shipping company in the world, has reported a fall in first quarter profit as costs rose faster than yields.

Net profit fell to $61.9 million from $73.2 million in the first three months of last year, while operating profit also fell, to $119.7 million from $131.2 million. Revenues rose to $1.16 billion from $1.08 billion.

The company said gross yield increased 5.7% while adjusted net yield improved 5.5% on a constant currency basis and 4.9% on an as reported basis.

Gross cruise cost increased 7.9% compared to 2016 due to an increase in total cruise operating expense and marketing, general and administrative expenses. Gross cruise costs per capacity day increased 6.8%.

Adjusted net cruise cost excluding fuel per capacity day increased 5.8% on both a constant currency and as reported basis primarily due to an increase in maintenance and repairs including dry dock and crew payroll and related costs.

Fuel price per metric ton, net of hedges increased 3.4% to $453 from $438 in 2016. The Company reported fuel expense of $88.9 million in the period. In addition, a loss of $0.4 million was recorded in other expense in 2017 related to the ineffective portion of the Company's fuel hedge portfolio due to market volatility.

Interest expense, net decreased to $53.0 million in 2017 from $59.8 million in 2016 reflecting a decrease in average debt outstanding partially offset by an increase in LIBOR rates.

The company also booked another expense of $2.8 million in 2017 compared to income of $2.8 million in 2016. In 2017, the expense was primarily related to losses on foreign currency exchange and unrealized and realized losses on derivatives. In 2016, the income was primarily related to unrealized gains on derivatives partially offset by realised losses on derivatives and losses on foreign currency exchange.

"2017 is off to a solid start with strong first quarter results which include record revenue of $1.2 billion for the quarter," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

"The operating environment has remained favourable with strong close-in demand for Caribbean sailings and strength in onboard revenue driving topline growth above expectations," continued Del Rio.


Lindblad first quarter net profit takes sharp dive on voyage cancellations

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Lindblad Expeditions, the lised US based expedition cruise and travel company, has reported a sharp fall in net profit for the first three months of the year due to technical problems that forced the company to cancel cruises..

Net profit dived to $0.6 million from $10.5 million in the same period last year, while revenues rose slightly, to $63.1 million from $61.6 million.

The increase in revenues was primarily due to contributions from Natural Habitat, which was acquired in May 2016, mostly offset by lower Lindblad segment revenues due in large part to an estimated $9.1 million impact from voyage cancellations.

“These voyage cancellations included four highly booked expeditions on the National Geographic Orion to repair the engine and the cancellation of two highly booked expeditions on the National Geographic Sea Lion to repair the air conditioning system. Excluding the impact of these voyage cancellations, the Company estimates that total Company tour revenue would have increased 17% to $72.3 million,” Lindblad said in a statement.

The company forecast full year revenues to grow by 14% to 16% to up to $281 million and EBITDA to rise between 12% and 17% to up to $49 million.

“This outlook includes the estimated $9.1 million revenue impact and estimated $6.5 million adjusted EBITDA impact associated with the cancellation of four voyages on the National Geographic Orion and two voyages on the National Geographic Sea Lion for necessary repairs, Lindblad said.

As of 1 May 1,  the Lindblad segment had 92% of full year 2017 projected guest ticket revenues on the books versus 93% of full year 2016 revenue at the same time last year. The Company also continues to anticipate it will achieve its long-range revenue and adjusted EBITDA targets, it added.



Princess Cruises to offer two "international" sailings on new Majestic Princess in Asia

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Princess Cruises today announced the addition of two 14-night Grand Asia voyages sailing between Shanghai and Singapore on the fleet’s newest ship, Majestic Princess.

Available to guests throughout the world, these sailings will visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand in 2018, including spending more time ashore on the late night call in Hong Kong. The first voyage departs Shanghai on February 25, 2018, with the second departing Singapore on March 11, 2018.

“Based on the response we received during Majestic Princess’ recent maiden cruise, we are confident she has redefined the international, luxury cruising experience,” said Jan Swartz, Group President of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, “We are thrilled to open up the opportunity for other guests to experience our newest flagship in our fleet.”

Among the exceptional venue designs, amenities and entertainment experiences, Majestic Princess features two new restaurant concepts, La Mer and Harmony. La Mer offers an authentic yet updated Parisian bistro experience with a fine dining dinner menu featuring authentic French cuisine made unique with modern twists by three Michelin-star chef Emmanuel Renaut. Harmony is a specialty restaurant with modern décor and a sophisticated Cantonese dinner menu designed by Michelin-star chef Richard Chen. Together, these two venues present guests with exceptional French and Chinese dining experiences.

In addition, guests on board also have the opportunity to taste Gong Cha, the Chinese-style bubble milk tea, the authentic American steakhouse experience of Crown Grill familiar across the global fleet, Lobster Grill and Dim Sum Bar as well as Alfredo’s featuring “The Best Pizza at Sea.”

Additionally, The Shops of Princess features the highest quality products direct from the brand’s manufacturers including luxury brands like Bulgari, Cartier, Chopard and EFFY.

On May 21, Majestic Princess will embark on the “Silk Road Sea Route” a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai. During the voyage she will visit a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang and Xiamen before arriving in Shanghai, her new homeport in China. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from China on July 11 carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of cruise destinations.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings partners with Alibaba Group to enter the China cruise market

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. today announced the launch of a new partnership with Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online and mobile commerce company.

"The two companies will leverage Norwegian’s expertise in providing exceptional vacation experiences and its innovative and award-winning cruise offerings along with Alibaba’s unparalleled insights into the wants and needs of the Chinese consumer to deliver the cruise industry’s most-customized product for the local China market. Utilizing Alibaba’s expansive ecosystem for engaging consumers, the two companies will look to further increase the awareness in China of the unique offerings of a cruise vacation. They plan to make it the preferred vacation choice among Chinese travelers in what is forecasted to become the cruise industry’s second-largest source market. The companies will also collaborate to provide Alibaba customers with new and unique online-to-offline (O2O) experiences at sea across Norwegian’s China-based and global fleet," NCLH said in a statement.

The announcement comes as Norwegian prepares to enter the Chinese cruise market in June 2017 with the introduction of its most innovative ship to date – the 3,850-passenger Norwegian Joy - the first premium cruise ship designed and constructed specifically for Chinese travelers. Norwegian Joy will be the 25th ship in Norwegian’s fleet across its three brands - Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

"We are pleased to partner with Norwegian Cruise Line on this tremendous initiative,” said Michael Evans, President of Alibaba Group. “Our expanded relationship is another example of how Alibaba is helping international brands to reach Chinese consumers through our robust data, marketing and technology. We look forward to further strengthening our collaboration with Norwegian in the future.”

Alibaba operates the world’s largest online and mobile marketplaces. Alibaba is much more than an e-commerce company, offering a wide range of products and services to its nearly half billion monthly active users. In China, people live, work and play on Alibaba, buying local and overseas products, and enjoying its entertainment and lifestyle services – travel, food delivery and social networking.

"Since launching our first cruise over 50 years ago, Norwegian has grown to become one of the most storied names in leisure travel with groundbreaking innovations that have shaped the modern cruise industry," said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. "Our partnership with Alibaba will combine Norwegian's history of innovation in the cruise industry and our entry into the Chinese cruise market with Norwegian Joy with Alibaba's extensive knowledge of China's consumer base and its unique ecosystem which continually reaches consumers in new and ever-expanding ways."

“The partnership with Alibaba complements our strong, existing relationships with our loyal travel agents to provide unmatched insight into what Chinese travelers look for in a vacation experience,” said David Herrera, President, NCLH China. “The combination of Norwegian’s expertise in delivering memorable vacation experiences, Alibaba’s insights into Chinese consumer behavior and our travel agents’ knowledge of the preferences of Chinese travelers will create a cruise product unequaled in China.”

Norwegian took delivery of Norwegian Joy on April 27, after which the ship began her repositioning from the shipyard in Germany to her home port of Shanghai. Her inaugural and christening gala ceremony will take place on June 27 in Shanghai, featuring the ship’s Godfather, ‘King of Chinese Pop’, Wang Leehom.