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Lindblad cuts Q4 loss, sees stronger bookings, limited direct coronavirus impact

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings narrowed its fourth quarter loss on better operating results and a foreign currency gain and said recent bookings were up double-digits.

Limited direct coronavirus impact but indirect unknown

‘Given the destinations we visit and the geographies where we source our guests, the company currently anticipates limited direct impact from the COVID-19 coronavirus,’ Lindblad said in a filing, adding: ‘However, at this time it is too early to estimate the potential indirect impact resulting from any decreased demand for travel related to the outbreak.’

As of Feb. 18, Lindblad segment bookings for 2020 travel had increased 26% compared to bookings for 2019 at the same date a year ago. The Lindblad segment has 86% of full year 2020 projected ticket revenue on the books versus 87% of full year 2019 ticket revenue at the same time last year.

Fourth quarter

Net loss available to common stockholders for the recent quarter was $1.5m, or 3 cents per share, down from a loss of $4.6m, or 10 cents, the prior year. The $3.2m improvement reflected better operating results and a $1.3m foreign currency gain in the quarter compared to a $0.7m foreign currency loss in Q4 2018.

These increases were partially offset primarily by a $1.5m increase in depreciation and amortization mainly due to the addition of National Geographic Venture in December 2018.

Adjusted EBITDA of $8m was a 94% increase. Of that, the Lindblad segment was responsible for $3.2, up from $2.9m, on higher tour revenues, lower drydock costs and a decline in value added tax expense, partially offset by higher operating costs for National Geographic Venture and increased marketing spend.

Tour revenues up 7%

Tour revenues of $75.8m increased $5.2m, or 7%, year over year. This was driven by growth of $3m in the Lindblad segment and $2.1m at Natural Habitat.

Lindblad segment tour revenues of $54.9m were up 6%, mainly on a 13% increase in available guest nights, mostly from the introduction of National Geographic Venture and fewer planned drydock days. This was partially offset by a 6% decline in net yield and a decrease in occupancy to 88% mainly due to additional shoulder season itineraries across the US fleet.

Full year results

For the full year 2019, net income was $13.7m, or 28 cents per share, up from f $11.4m, or 24 cents per diluted share, in 2018. Full year tour revenues were $343.1m, up 11%. Lindblad segment tour revenues of $272.4m also reflected an 11% increase.

Net yield grew 1%, to $1,051, mainly on higher pricing and changes in itineraries, while occupancy was in line with a year ago at 91%.

Outlook

The company currently expects full-year 2020 tour revenues in the range of $400m to $410m, a 17% to 20% increase, and adjusted EBITDA of $82m to $86m, up 23% to 29%.

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