NCLH Gives Bullish Guidance

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) posted net income of $427.1 million, or $1.86 per share, on revenues of $4.3 billion for the year ended Dec. 31, 2015, compared to net income of $338.4 million, or $1.62 per share, on revenues of $3.1 billion for 2014.

The results include the addition of Prestige Cruises (Oceania and Regent Seven Seas), which NCLH acquired in November of 2014.

Net income per passenger day was $26.65 last year, compared to $24.82 the previous year.

The adjusted guidance for this year is for a midpoint of $3.75 per share, and for 2017, $5.00 per share.

A very bullish President and CEO Frank Del Rio said on the year-end earnings call today that the brands are booked for 2016 at record levels and higher prices than any previous year and that 2017 is already 30 percent booked, also at higher prices.

For the year, he said that the combined strength of the Caribbean, Alaska, Bermuda, Hawaii and Canada/New England is more than offsetting weakness in the Mediterranean.

Del Rio said he is also confident that there is no other place that is better to deploy a new ship than in China, despite the reports of over-capacity and price pressure going into 2016. Norwegian is set to enter the Chinese market in mid-2017.

Going forward, Del Rio mentioned several initiatives designed to drive growth, including what he called a disciplined newbuild program, cost reductions, and rewarding net yield growth from organic sources. Another effort he mentioned is more diversification of itineraries “weaning the Norwegian brand away from the seven-day Caribbean milk-run.”

Thus, for the 2016-2017 winter, the Epic will be pulled out of its under-performing year-round Mediterranean program and deployed on three-, four- and seven-day Caribbean cruises, and the Norwegian Star will be deployed in Asia and Australia. Next summer, the Getaway is deployed in Northern Europe where the Norwegian Jade will also be sailing dividing her program between three homeports – Hamburg, Southampton and Amsterdam.

Del Rio said that diversification of itineraries will boost yield and that the move of the Getaway alone to Northern Europe could have a net positive effect of $0.10 per share.

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