Independence of the Seas (photo: Sergio Ferreira)Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. today reported first quarter results and slightly raised its outlook for full year 2014.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

Overall, the year is developing along the course the company previously anticipated.  First quarter results were at the lower end of the company's guidance due to some minor voyage disruptions but this impact is expected to be offset during the rest of the year. Full year Adjusted Earnings Per Share (Adjusted EPS) is expected to be in the range of $3.25 to $3.45, which raises the company's previous guidance by $0.05.

Results for the First Quarter 2014:

  • Net Yields were down 0.3% on a Constant-Currency basis (down 2.7% As-Reported). Unplanned voyage disruptions within the quarter negatively impacted yields for the quarter by about 0.5%.
  • Net Cruise Costs ("NCC") excluding fuel increased 1.3% on a Constant-Currency basis (1.0% As-Reported).
  • Adjusted Net Income was $46.1 million, or $0.21 per share, versus Adjusted Net Income of $78.2 million, or $0.35 per share, in 2013.
  • US GAAP Net Income, which reflects some restructuring and related charges, and the impact of the operations of the divested Pullmantur non-core businesses, was $26.5 million, or $0.12 per share versus $76.2 million, or $0.35 per share in 2013.  

Full Year 2014:

  • Adjusted EPS is expected to be in the range of $3.25 to $3.45 per share.
  • Net Yields are expected to increase 2% to 3% on a Constant-Currency basis (2% to 3% As-Reported).
  • NCC excluding fuel are expected to be flat to slightly down on a Constant-Currency basis (Approx. flat As-Reported).

The company has completed the sale of Pullmantur's non-core businesses. As previously disclosed, the results of these businesses and the restructuring and related costs associated with the sale of these businesses along with our previously announced global restructuring actions have been excluded from non-GAAP measures to provide better comparability.

For the full year we expect to incur $23 million in restructuring and related charges and approximately $11 million from the first quarter operating loss incurred by the divested Pullmantur non-core businesses, totaling $34 million in 2014. In the first quarter we incurred $19.6 million, leaving approximately $14.4 million for the balance of the year.

"It is gratifying to see 2014 developing methodically along such a positive trajectory," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our business strategy is proving itself nicely while strength in our global markets is more than compensating for a highly promotional Caribbean."

FIRST QUARTER RESULTS

Adjusted Net Income for the first quarter of 2014 was $46.1 million, or $0.21 per share, compared to Adjusted Net Income of $78.2 million, or $0.35 per share, in the first quarter of 2013.  US GAAP Net Income for the first quarter 2014 was $26.5 million or $0.12 per share compared to $76.2 million or $0.35 per share in 2013.  

Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis decreased 0.3% during the quarter. Excluding the unplanned voyage disruptions, yields were slightly better than flat. Six voyages were shortened or cancelled during the quarter. The net impact from these events is expected to be recovered within the fiscal year.

Ticket revenue was in line with expectations across most key itineraries and as expected, Caribbean yields were down slightly while yields in other itineraries were up nicely. Onboard revenue yields increased 3.4% as we continue to see the benefit of our fleet upgrades and onboard revenue management initiatives.

Constant-Currency NCC excluding fuel increased 1.3% which is better than guidance mostly due to timing. Bunker pricing net of hedging for the first quarter was $713 per metric ton and consumption was 343,000 metric tons.

FULL YEAR 2014

The company has raised full year Adjusted EPS guidance slightly to a range of $3.25 to $3.45 from $3.20 to $3.40.  Constant-Currency Net Revenue Yields and Net Cruise Costs excluding fuel are expected to be consistent with our previous guidance of up 2% to 3% and flat to slightly down, respectively.

Booking volumes for the past three months have been up about 16% year-over-year, with bookings for the past 8 weeks up by more than 20%, stronger than typical post-Wave periods. For example, the company experienced a record booking week at the end of February which is an unusual time for so much activity. As a result, load factors and APDs are higher than same time last year. While the promotional environment in the Caribbean has contributed to the strong booking volumes, demand has also increased for other itineraries. 

Demand for European sailings from all key sourcing regions and for China sailings remained particularly strong throughout the period and double digit yield improvements are expected for both products. 

"Despite pressures in the Caribbean, the diversity provided by our global footprint is proving its value. This model has allowed us to take advantage of the strong demand for our European and Asian products, while successfully navigating pressures in the Caribbean," said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer.

In the first quarter we continued to leverage our improving credit profile and a healthy bank market to further reduce our interest costs.

NCC excluding fuel are expected to be flat to slightly down on a Constant-Currency basis and approximately flat on an As-Reported basis. Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, the company has raised its 2014 guidance for Adjusted EPS to a range of $3.25 to $3.45 per share.

SECOND QUARTER 2014

Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to increase between 1.5% to 2.5% in the second quarter of 2014. NCC excluding fuel are expected to be down 2% to 3% on a Constant-Currency basis. Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates and current exchange rates, the company expects second quarter Adjusted EPS will be in the range of $0.45 to $0.55 per share.

FUEL EXPENSE AND SUMMARY OF KEY GUIDANCE STATS

Fuel Expense

The company does not forecast fuel prices, and its fuel cost calculations are based on current at-the-pump prices, net of hedging impacts.  Based on today's fuel prices the company has included $245 million and $957 million of fuel expense in its second quarter and full year 2014 guidance, respectively.

Forecasted consumption is 55% hedged via swaps for the remainder of 2014 and 51%, 30% and 10% hedged for 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively.  For the same four-year period, the average cost per metric ton of the hedge portfolio is approximately $616, $642, $614 and $597, respectively. 

The company provided the following fuel statistics for the second quarter and full year 2014: