Lindblad Expeditions today reported financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2017.
Sven-Olof Lindblad, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Lindblad has started 2017 with significant operating momentum as bookings for future travel are up nearly 60% from the same period a year ago. While first quarter financial results were negatively impacted by unique voyage cancellations, the meaningful demand we are seeing for both existing and new vessels across our expedition fleet reinforces the appeal of our product and the opportunity we have to grow this business as we expand our current capacity. The National Geographic Quest will launch next month and has virtually sold out its inaugural Alaskan season, while its sister ship the National Geographic Venture is well under way for delivery in June 2018. We are also close to finalizing our plans for a new build blue water vessel to be delivered in the second quarter of 2019. This increased capacity, combined with a loyal and expanding customer base which seeks an authentic expedition experience that we have a proven track record of providing, is expected to generate significant earnings growth and create additional shareholder value in the years ahead."
According to a press release, first quarter tour revenues of $63.1 million increased $1.6 million, or 3%, as compared to 2016. The increase was primarily due to contributions from Natural Habitat, which was acquired in May of 2016, mostly offset by lower Lindblad segment revenues due in large part to an estimated $9.1 million impact from voyage cancellations.
These voyage cancellations included four highly booked expeditions on the National Geographic Orion to repair the engine and the cancellation of two highly booked expeditions on the National Geographic Sea Lion to repair the air conditioning system. Excluding the impact of these voyage cancellations, the Company estimates that total Company tour revenue would have increased 17% to $72.3 million.
Lindblad segment revenues of $53.2 million decreased $8.4 million, or 14%, compared to 2016, due to an $8.9 million decrease in ticket revenues driven by the voyage cancellations, partially offset by a $0.5 million increase in other tour revenues. Other tour revenues increased due to $1.9 million of insurance revenue related to the National Geographic Orion cancellations, which was mostly offset by lower other tour revenue due to the voyage cancellations. Excluding the impact of the voyage cancellations, the Company estimates that Lindblad segment revenue would have increased 1% to $62.3 million mainly due to the launch of charter expeditions in Cuba, offset by lower overall Occupancy.
Available Guest Nights declined by 18% as compared with the first quarter a year ago, primarily due to the voyage cancellations, partially offset by the launch of charter expeditions in Cuba. Lindblad segment Net Yield of $1,008 was in-line with the first quarter a year ago as increased pricing was offset by the impact of voyage cancellations on itineraries with higher net yields, as well as from a decline in overall Occupancy. Occupancy decreased to 87% from 92% a year ago primarily due to the cancellation of high occupancy voyages as well as from lower bookings during the first half of 2016 due to concerns over the Zika virus and terrorism and from a delay in direct mail marketing.
Net income for the first quarter was $0.6 million, $0.01 per diluted share, as compared with net income of $10.5 million, $0.23 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2016. The $9.8 million decrease is primarily due to the lower operating results and $2.9 million of additional stock based compensation expense in the current year primarily related to grants under the 2016 CEO Share Allocation Plan, which provides the CEO the ability to transfer shares from his existing holdings in the Company to eligible employees.