Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings today reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 and provided guidance for the second quarter and full year 2015.
Improvement in Adjusted EPS of 17.4% to $0.27 on Adjusted Net Income of $62.6 million
Adjusted Net Yield increase of 18.9% (19.9% on a Constant Currency basis) driven by the addition of the upper premium Oceania Cruises and luxury Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands
Integration of Norwegian and Prestige Cruise Holdings (Prestige) operations largely complete. Continued synergy identification efforts lead to $75 million in synergies for 2015, $115 million for 2016.
First Quarter 2015 Results
“I am pleased to report strong earnings out of the gate for our first full quarter of operations following the combination of Norwegian and Prestige late last year,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “These results are even more impressive as they come against strong comparables in the prior year, particularly for the Norwegian brand, and headwinds from foreign currency exchange rates,” continued Del Rio.
For the first quarter of 2015, the Company generated stronger than expected adjusted earnings per share of $0.27 on Adjusted Net Income of $62.6 million. Earnings exceeded the Company’s guidance of $0.20 to $0.24 per share and benefited from lower than expected interest expense and better than anticipated Net Yield performance. On a GAAP basis, diluted loss per share and net loss were $0.10 and $21.5 million, respectively, primarily due to transaction and integration related costs.
Adjusted Net Yield improved 18.9% (or 19.9% on a Constant Currency basis) mainly due to the acquisition of the Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands in the fourth quarter of 2014. On a Combined Company basis, which compares current results against the combined results of Norwegian and Prestige in the prior year, Adjusted Net Yield was down 0.7% and essentially flat on a Constant Currency basis against a strong first quarter of 2014 that included the benefit of a one month charter of Norwegian Jade for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Adjusted Net Revenue for the period increased 46.0% to $728.9 million as a result of the acquisition of the Oceania Cruises and Regent brands as well as approximately one month of incremental sailings from Norwegian Getaway which debuted in early 2014. Revenue in the period increased to $938.2 million from $664.0 million in 2014.
Adjusted Net Cruise Cost Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day increased 28.7% (29.3% on a Constant Currency basis), primarily as a result of the Prestige acquisition, while on a Combined Company basis increased 5.6% (6.1% on a Constant Currency basis). The Company’s fuel price per metric ton decreased 18.2% to $526 from $643 in 2014.
The incremental debt from the acquisition drove an increase in interest expense, net to $51.0 million from $31.2 million; however, lower than anticipated interest rates resulted in expense that was lower than the Company’s guidance. Expense of $30.1 million in other income (expense) in 2015 was primarily attributable to a fair value adjustment on a foreign exchange collar for one of the Company’s newbuilds.
As a result of continued integration and synergy identification efforts, the Company has now identified $75 million in synergies for full year 2015, comprised of $30 million in revenue and $45 million in cost synergies. The Company had previously communicated the identification of $15 million in revenue and $25 million in cost synergies for a total of $40 million for 2015. Of the incremental synergies, the Company is earmarking $20 million for reinvestment directed to business initiatives to further drive demand to the Company’s three brands, resulting in net synergies of $55 million for 2015.
“The identification of additional synergies has come as the result of a truly collaborative effort between our dedicated integration team and all areas of the organization,” said Del Rio. “Tasked with a mandate that synergies have a neutral or positive impact on the guest experience, the organization has come together to identify meaningful incremental synergies. The net synergies will have an immediate impact on the bottom line in 2015, while amounts reinvested in our business initiatives will benefit our strategies for earnings growth in 2016 and beyond,” continued Del Rio.
For the full year 2016, the Company has identified synergies of $115 million which includes the annualization of initiatives introduced in 2015 coupled with new initiatives. Of these, the Company plans to reinvest $40 million, resulting in net synergies for the year of $75 million.
2015 Guidance and Sensitivities
In addition to the results for first quarter 2015, the Company also provided guidance for the second quarter and full year 2015, along with accompanying sensitivities. Guidance for Adjusted Net Yield and Adjusted Net Cruise Cost Excluding Fuel per Capacity Day are provided on an as reported basis as well as a Combined Company basis, which compares expectations to 2014 results that include the results of Prestige assuming the acquisition had occurred at the beginning of 2014.
The Company’s guidance includes the impacts of expected continued fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and an unscheduled Dry-dock for Norwegian Star in the second quarter for warranty-related repairs on its propeller system which malfunctioned post the ship’s scheduled Dry-dock in the first quarter.
“We are raising the midpoint of our guidance to take into account the better than anticipated interest expense and net yield performance in the first quarter,” said Wendy Beck, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “We are maintaining our net yield and net cruise cost guidance for the year as benefits from our incremental revenue synergies offset the anticipated foreign currency headwinds and the revenue impact from the unscheduled dry-dock of Norwegian Star. Further, the reinvestment of $20 million into demand-driving initiatives is offset by incremental cost synergies identified in the quarter,” continued Beck.