NCLH: Pricing Up, Profits Up

“We entered 2019 in a record booked position and at higher prices,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), speaking on the company’s first quarter earnings call. “Our position of strength entering the year meant we were able to maintain our focus on driving prices and drive we did as wave season pricing came in at record level.”

Posting a record Q1 with net income of $118 million also pleased Wall Street.

“NCLH’s Q119 demonstrated another quarter of execution and confirmed ongoing industry strength, with upside from strong close in pricing and onboard spending, across all brands and source/destination markets,” wrote Timothy Conder, CPA, Senior Analyst, Wells Fargo.

“All told, we encourage investors to continue aggressively accumulating NCLH shares at current levels,” commented Steven M. Wieczynski, an analyst from Stifel, in a note to investors.

Added Brandt Montour from J.P. Morgan: “We come away from the Q1 incrementally confident in NCLH’s ability to maintain reasonably strong pricing power despite accelerating industry capacity growth.”

Del Rio said there was a delicate balance between pricing and load factors.

“And if we’re doing our jobs right, our booked position, at any given point in time, can’t always be in an ever increasing position or we’re just not trying hard enough to push prices higher,” he explained. “It’s my opinion, my view, that if you don’t ask for higher prices, you’re never going to get it …. so today, we’re very, very pleased at the balance between pricing and load.”

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