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RCCL reports strong rise in final quarter and full year results

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Royal Caribbean Cruises, ltd (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group, has reported a strong rise in final quarter and full year 2016 results.

Group net profit rose to $261.0 million in the last three months of 2016 on $206.8 million in the same period in 2015. Revenues remained stable at $1.90 billion.

In the full year 2016, the group net profit increased to $1.28 billion from $665.8 million. In 2015, RCCL had booked a $411 million impairment charge against Pullmantur, a Spanish company it then owned in full. It now retains a 49% stake in it. Revenues increased to $8.49 billion from $8.30 billion.

"As we enter our double-double year, we have never been so well positioned," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. "This program has done what it set out to do – bookings are at record levels, the preference our brands enjoy has never been stronger, we are on the cusp of investment grade ratings, our dividends are at an all-time high, costs have been well managed, and our guests' satisfaction has never been better. The double-double program helped reinforce the mindset and discipline across our organization which has gotten us here. For that I thank every one of the men and women whose passion and efforts are driving this performance. While currency and fuel are both significant negatives at the moment, our business continues to thrive."


Genting Hong Kong warns of deep 2016 loss on asset depreciation, start up costs of Dream Cruise and MV Werften

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Genting Hong Kong, the rapidly expanding Hong Kong based cruise shipping group, has warned that it will report a deep loss for 2016 due to depreciation of assets for sale and start up costs of its dream Cruise premium market brand plus MV Werften shipyards in Germany.

Based on the preliminary assessment of the latest unaudited financial information, excluding the share of results of Travellers, the group is expected to record a consolidated net loss in the range of US$500 million to US$550 million for the year ended 31 December 2016, as compared with a consolidated net profit of US$2.1 billion, excluding the share of results of Travellers, for the year ended 31 December 2015, the company said in a statement.

“Such expected decline in the consolidated net results of the Group is mainly attributable to a number of factors including: (i) the absence of a one-off accounting gain of US$1,567.4 million recognised arising from the reclassification of the Group’s investment in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (“NCLH”) from “Interest in associates” to “Available-for-sale investments” in 2015 and a total gain of US$658.6 million arising from the disposals of certain stakes in NCLH in 2015 as disclosed in the Company’s announcements dated 9 March 2015, 21 May 2015, 12 August 2015 and 16 December 2015; (ii) an impairment loss of approximately US$300 million on the Group’s available-for-sale investment of its interest in NCLH ordinary shares caused by a decline in its fair value in late 2016; (iii) one-time start-up and marketing costs for the launch of new Dream and Crystal cruise brands and products in 2016; (iv) additional depreciation and amortisation mainly from new Dream and Crystal cruise ships and newly acquired German shipyards; and (v) start-up, reorganisation and acquisition related costs arising from its shipyard operations and newbuilding activities,” the company said.

Despite the decline in its consolidated net results, the Group is expected to record an improvement on its underlying cruise business excluding the one-time start-up costs of its new Dream and Crystal cruise ships.

“The Board wishes to remind investors that the Company is still in the process of finalising its consolidated results for the year ended 31 December 2016 and the above comparison did not take into account the Group’s share of results of Travellers as Travellers is a listed company on an overseas stock exchange and its results have not been announced,” Genting said, adding that it will consider making a supplemental announcement for the Company, if necessary, after the results of Travellers is announced.


Color Line and Ulstein Verft sign LOI for 160 metre hybrid ferry

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Color Line, the Norwegian ferry company, and Ulstein Verft in Norway have agreed on a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the construction of the largest hybrid vessel of the world, the shipbuilder said in a statement.

The ferry will be 160 metres long and have a capacity of 2,000 passengers and about 500 cars. The ship will provide significantly increased capacity on the route between Norway and Sweden, and will represent expanded and improved services on board and therefore a new and better travel experience.

“This is an important milestone for us, and we are very pleased that we have been chosen as partner in this very exciting project. We are looking forward to the further cooperation with Color Line,” states CEO Gunvor Ulstein at Ulstein Group. The vessel will be designed by Fosen.

The vessel is planned to service Sandefjord-Strömstad from summer 2019. The ferry is a plug-in hybrid, where the batteries are recharged via a power cable with green electricity from their own shore facilities or recharged on board by the ship's generators.

The vessel, with the working title "Color Hybrid", will have almost double capacity as M/S “Bohus”, which is scheduled to be phased out when the new ferry will be put into operation. The ship will have full battery power into and out of the fjord to Sandefjord. It will therefore not give emissions of harmful greenhouse gases or nitrogen and sulphur compounds in this area.

“The signing of the LOI represents a significant step to realize the world's largest plug-in hybrid ship. It is very gratifying that the Norwegian shipbuilding industry has proven its competitiveness internationally,” says Trond Kleivdal at Color Line.

The natural environment is an accelerator to Color Line, whose company has installed shore power facilities in Oslo, Larvik and Kristiansand. With shore power in Sandefjord installed, all Color Line Norwegian ports will have shore power facilities. “Our ambition is to be a leader in European short sea shipping and "Color Hybrid 'is a new proof of this, says Kleivdal.

Color Line is currently the only company in the international passenger and freight traffic to and from Norway with ships registered in the Norwegian Ship Register and with Norwegian headquarters. “The focus on a new vessel with new green technology happens partly because the company, through the Government's maritime strategy, has received approximately identical conditions as their competitors in the Nordic region,” says Trond Kleivdal.




Michael Thamm expands role to oversee Carnival Corporation’s operations in China and Asia

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Carnival Corporation & plc has announced that Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group, is appointed CEO of Carnival Asia, and will oversee operations in China and the region as part of his expanded role.

The appointment demonstrates the importance Carnival Corporation attaches to the China market as an upcomings trong pillar of its global business.

“As the first and largest global cruise operator in China, Carnival Corporation is excited to participate in the boom in Asia, and particularly in China, of surging consumer demand from a fast-growing economy. This is also in line with the stated objective of the Chinese government shifting from an investment based to a consumer led economy. We are committed to accelerating the advancement of the overall cruise industry in China, consistent with the current 5 year plan,” says Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc. “Michael Thamm will build on the existing strong momentum and Carnival Corporation's leading position through his proven leadership skills and exceptional industry expertise."

Part of Thamm's added responsibilities includes promoting strategic cooperation with the Chinese government and local business partners, and building a long-term, sustainable Chinese cruise industry.

“I am excited to embark in the new role, and dedicated to growing our company’s business and its industry-leading presence in the region. We will work with partners across the region to build and develop a robust ecosystem for the sustained development of China's cruise industry, helping China to be a front-runner in the global cruise market,” said Michael Thamm.

With a career spanning more than three decades in the cruise and shipping industry, Michael Thamm has served as CEO of Costa Group since Jul. 1, 2012. He will continue leading Costa Group’s global business and drive its success, in addition to his Asia role.

On Oct. 21, 2015, Carnival Corporation partnered with China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and CIC Capital Corporation to form a joint venture in China. It intends to launch the first world-class, multi-ship domestic-owned cruise brand using ships that are purchased from Carnival Corporation’s existing fleet and homeported in China. The joint venture would then add new China-built cruise ships to further accelerate growth in the Chinese cruise market, which is expected to eventually become the largest cruise market in the world.

Carnival to order ship for Holland America and Princess Cruises

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Carnival Corpration & plc, the world’s largest cruise shipping group, has signed a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. to build two cruise ships with final contracts expected to be executed in early 2017.

“The two new ships are designated for the company’s Holland America Line and Princess Cruises brands. With the new agreement, Carnival Corporation now has 19 new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2017 and 2022,” the company said in a statement.

Holland America Line’s ship will be built at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Marghera, Italy, with an expected delivery in 2021, and the ship for Princess Cruises will be built at Fincantieri’s Monfalcone, Italy, shipyard with an expected delivery in 2022.

Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc said: “Using our strategic fleet enhancement plan to introduce new ships is an important part of our measured capacity growth strategy, which includes replacing less efficient ships with newer, larger and more efficient vessels.”

Holland America Line’s new 99,500-ton, 2,660-guest ship will be its third “Pinnacle” class vessel, following the design of the line’s newest and largest ship, ms Koningsdam, and its sister ship, Nieuw Statendam, scheduled for delivery in November 2018.

Princess Cruises' new 145,000-ton ship will carry 3,660 passengers and will be its sixth "Royal" class vessel, featuring the successful design platform used on Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess, the world’s first ship designed specifically for the China market and scheduled for delivery in March 2017, as well as its sister ships – the two yet-to-be-named vessels also under construction by Fincantieri scheduled for delivery in 2019 and 2020.