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UBS downgrades Norwegian on Caribbean pricing issues

UBS downgrades Norwegian on Caribbean pricing issues
UBS Investment Research downgraded Norwegian Cruise Line to 'neutral' from 'buy,' citing continued Caribbean pricing challenges. The brokerage reduced its price target for NCLH by a dollar, to $36.

'We believe NCLH will continue to face a challenging Caribbean and in 2015, after a challenging Q1, NCLH will be without benefit of new tonnage until Q4, so it won't have a new ship delivery to drive yield growth through a higher mix of premium ticket price until late 2015,' UBS analyst Robin Farley said in a note.

She added that Norwegian has the largest exposure to the Caribbean of the three major cruise lines, and said Caribbean capacity is not down much next year, with capacity increases in the region also weighing on Q1.

UBS has been using 14x to 16x as a valuation multiple for NLCH, and said the middle of that range does not support a 'buy' rating at current levels, and the brokerage thinks the near-term outlook does not justify the higher end of that range. At 15x UBS's 2015 EPS estimate of $2.52, its target price for the stock goes to $36 from $37.

NCLH closed at $32.43 on Tuesday.