Costa Cruises' Italian parent company, Costa Crociere, is in the process of making a public offering of 26.2 percent of its stock, according to Bernal Quiros, President of Costa Cruises.
The public offering is expected to generate $25 million which will increase the company's paid-in capital, equity, to $45 million. "This will give us a stronger balance sheet," Quiros said, "enabling us to obtain better financing for our two new vessels."
At press time Quiros said that it was not yet known what share price the market would support.
The Costa family has held 50 percent of the company's stock, while the other half was owned by six groups of investors. After the public offering, the Costa family and private investors will each hold 36.9 percent of the company's shares. The rest will be traded on the Milan stock exchange.
Two New Ships
Costa has two new ships under construction. The 25,000-ton CostaMarina, which is being built at the Mariotti yard, is being converted from a container ship. She is scheduled for delivery next summer and will operate in the Mediterranean in the summer and in South America in the winter, mainly carrying European passengers.
The second ship is a 50,000-ton vessel being built by Fincantieri and will be deployed on seven-day Caribbean cruises out of Port Everglades when entering service in early 1992.
Quiros said that by 1992, Costa expects to operate at least four ships in the U.S. market - the new, not-yet-named ship and the CostaRiviera year-round from Port Everglades, the Carla Costa year-round from San Juan, while the Daphne will sail from San Juan during the winters and in Alaska during the summer seasons.
Quiros noted that overall 47 percent of the company's passengers are presently North Americans; 13 percent are from South America; and 40 percent are Europeans.
Quiros also said that since January, the Costa ships operating here have been sailing mostly full at per diems that are the highest the company has ever achieved. He also added that the summer season looks very good, but that the fall looks a little softer, which he partially attributed to what he said would be a 26 percent increase in cruise capacity out of San Juan.
For fiscal year 1988, ending July 31, Quiros said that the company had repported net revenues of $208 million, compared to $192 million in 1987. Gross operating income was $18.5 million compared to $10.5 million the previous year. Net income was $9.8 million in 1988 compared to $7.3 million in 1987.
Quiros attributed the company's earnings record to a managerial restructing at the company's Genoa headquarters; a very strong performance in the Europan market - generating British, French, German, and Spanish passengers; and the successful implementation of the line's "cruising Italian" concept in the American marketplace.
"We are offering superior food, a superior cruise staff, and superior service at reasonable rates," Quiros said, adding that Costa has the highest passenger-to-crew ratio in the industry, with one crew member for every two passengers.
Quiros added that in line with the company's policy, the new 50,000-ton ship will only carry 1,300 passengers.