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'Today we are a real company,' Hagen says as Viking makes public debut

Applause follows Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen ringing the NYSE opening bell May 1 when 'VIK' shares began trading
Viking began trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $26.15 a share after pricing at $24 and gained 8.75%, closing at $26.10.

VIK traded as high as $26.86 during Wednesday's session, when Viking founder and Chairman Torstein Hagen rang the opening bell.

He was joined by daughter Karine Hagen, EVP product, and other members of his executive team including CFO Leah Talactac, EVP/Finance Linh Banh, EVP/Head of Business Development Jeff Dash, EVP/Group Operations Tony Hofmann, EVP Sales Milton Hugh and EVP Marketing Richard Marnell.

On the NYSE floor, many in the cheering crowd wore Norwegian sweaters.

'Today we are a real company'

Twenty-seven years after Viking started as 'two guys, two mobile phones and four small river vessels ... today we are a real company,' Hagen said during a CNBC interview.

Viking now fields 92 vessels including nine ocean and two expedition ships, and carried 650,000 passengers in 2023.

The company's prospectus showed a $1.86b loss on revenues of $4.71b in 2023.

Impressive revenue per passenger

'What is getting investors excited is the company’s revenue per passenger of $7,251, which is much higher than that of any other publicly traded cruise line,' CNBC's Seema Moody reported.

Viking's market valuation based on Wednesday’s closing price was $11.26b with 431.46m shares outstanding, making it the third largest cruise operator after Royal Caribbean Group and Carnival Corp., ahead of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. The company raised $1.54b, the most money among US IPOs this year, according to Barron's.


Viking offered 11m shares and selling shareholders Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and TPG 53,041,668 up from the 33m initially planned. In addition, the selling shareholders granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 9.6m shares to cover overallotments.

Hagen 'not selling one share'

'I personally have over half the shares in the company, and I'm not selling one share,' Hagen said on CNBC.