RCL tops first quarter targets, raises guidance

Buoyed by stronger than expected revenue, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. turned in first quarter US GAAP earnings of $1.02 per share and adjusted earnings of $1.09 per share, beating guidance.

The company raised its full-year profit outlook by 15 cents per share to a range of $8.70 to $8.90. This compares to Wall Street's $8.77 consensus forecast.

Q1 US GAAP net income was $218.7m, while adjusted net income was $232.8m, both up from $214.7m a year ago. Revenues were $2bn.

Net yields were up 4.9% in constant currency and up 7% on an as-reported basis. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per available passenger cruise day were up 11.2% in constant currency and up 12.5% as reported.

Overall booked position better than last year

Overall, the company's booked position remains at a record level, better than last year in both rate and volume.

'This year is proving to be another strong year with all our brands firing on all cylinders,' chairman and CEO Richard Fain said. 'The market continues to support our growth as our people keep focused on delivering our targets and goals. The strength of this market plus our new ships in 2018—Symphony of the Seas, Azamara Pursuit, Mein Schiff 1 and Celebrity Edge—position us nicely for 2019 as well.'

Turning to the second quarter, Royal Caribbean said an unusually strong market in 2017 generated an unusually strong net yield increase of 11.5% during Q2 2017. That, plus the timing of the Easter vacation period make for a tough year-over-year comparable.

Nevertheless, the company expects constant-currency net yields to be up in the range of 1.5% to 2% in Q2.

Q2 guidance lower than Wall Street's forecast

However, net cruise costs excluding fuel are expected to be up approximately 5% in constant currency. The elevated cost is due to additional dry dock days and further investments in the product and demand-generating activities.

Adjusted EPS is now forecast to be $1.85 to $1.90, less than the $1.95 consensus.

RCL stock was trading lower on Thursday morning.

Posted 26 April 2018

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review