August 9, 2022

Royal Caribbean sails to $1.28B profit in 2016

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By Arlene Satchell From Sun Sentinel

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. posted record earnings in 2016, buoyed in part by higher ticket prices, increased onboard spending and cost savings, the cruise company said Thursday.

The Miami-based cruise operator generated net income or profit of $1.28 billion or $5.93 a share, versus $665.8 million, or $3.02 a share in 2015.

Revenue climbed to $8.5 billion in 2016, up 2.4 percent from the previous year.

For the fourth-quarter ended Dec. 31, Royal Caribbean generated profit of $261 million, or $1.21 a share, compared with $207 million, or 94 cents, for the same period in 2015. Quarterly revenue rose slightly to $1.91 billion from 1.9 billion in the prior year.

The cruise company’s adjusted earnings per share of $1.23 in the quarter beat analysts’ estimates of $1.22, but revenue fell short of the $1.96 billion forecast, according to Zacks Equity Research.

Royal Caribbean’s shares rose 8.6 percent to $95.19 in early afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

In reflecting on 2016’s performance, Richard D. Fain, company chairman and CEO, noted it had several significant milestones last year during an earnings call with analysts Thursday.

“We have tripled our earnings, delivered four consecutive years of double-digit earnings growth, grown the dividends by five times and now exceeded $6 in [adjusted] earnings per share,” Fain said. “These financial results are extraordinary.”

Turning to this year, Fain said the company was on the threshold of what was promising to be “a sensational year.”

That optimism is driven in part by the strong performance of its cruise brands during the first half of the Wave Season, the annual key cruise booking period that typically runs from January to February, and often into March.

Those global brands include Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. Royal Caribbean also has a 50 percent stake in German operator TUI Cruises, 49 percent interest in Spanish line Pullmantur and a minority ownership in China-focused SkySea Cruise Line.

For 2017, Royal Caribbean said its bookings position is better than last year’s record high, and at higher rates. U.S. and Canadian consumers were the primary drivers of positive trends for its North American and European cruises. Those trends along with a positive outlook for Australia and strong bookings for China cruises for the first half of the year, are positioning it for robust growth in 2017, the cruise company said.

Strong demand for new ships Harmony of the Seas, now sailing from Port Everglades year-round to the Caribbean, and Ovation of the Seas operating in Australia, were also contributing to the positive outlook.

“Our global portfolio of products is demonstrating strength across virtually all key markets, positioning us to deliver strong yield growth in 2017,” said Jason T. Liberty, chief financial officer.

This year, Royal Caribbean is slated to complete its three-year Double-Double profitability initiative, which is intended to grow return on invested capital by double digits and double its 2014 earnings per share, which adjusted was $3.39.

This year it’s expecting adjusted per share earnings to be in the range of $6.90 – $7.10.

“This program has done what it set out to do – bookings are at record levels, the preference our brands enjoy has never been stronger, we are on the cusp of investment grade ratings, our dividends are at an all-time high, costs have been well managed, and our guests’ satisfaction has never been better,” said Fain, in an earnings release. “While currency and fuel are both significant negatives at the moment, our business continues to thrive.”

IMAGE: Harmony of the Seas at sea (Royal Caribbean International)

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