NCL CORPORATION REPORTS THIRD QUARTER RESULTS FOR 2006
Financial Press Release
MIAMI - November 13, 2006 - NCL Corporation Ltd. ("NCL" or the "Company") reported net income of $49.0 million on total revenues of $592.3 million for its third quarter ended September 30, 2006. This compares to net income of $41.2 million on total revenues of $495.0 million for the third quarter of 2005. Net income for the third quarter of 2006 included $7.3 million in connection with a settlement agreement for the remaining portion of our claims against the builder of Pride of America.
Driven primarily by a 15.2% increase in Capacity Days, higher onboard revenues and an increase in the percentage of our guests purchasing air travel with us, revenues for the third quarter of 2006 increased 19.7% compared to the third quarter of 2005. Net Yields in the third quarter of 2006 were essentially flat with the same quarter in 2005, with improvement in the international business counterbalanced by downward pricing pressure in Hawaii driven by a 64.1% increase in our capacity in our inter-island cruises as well as increases in the costs of providing air travel to our Hawaii guests. Gross Yields overall increased 3.9% from the third quarter of 2005.
Net Cruise Costs per Capacity Day for the third quarter of 2006 decreased by 0.8% compared to the same period in the prior year. The decrease was primarily attributable to lower marketing, general and administrative expenses and certain operating efficiencies, partially offset by increases in payroll and related expenses and higher fuel expense. The third quarter of 2006 represents the first full quarter with three vessels deployed in our inter-island Hawaii cruises. While the Company expects the stabilization of this fleet to ultimately result in cost efficiencies, the significant increase in capacity deployed in our inter-island Hawaii cruises represented a larger portion of our fleet in the third quarter of 2006 than in 2005, and this has therefore resulted in higher payroll and related expenses. In addition, fuel prices in the third quarter of 2006 averaged $368 per metric ton, or an increase of 20% from the average price of $306 per metric ton in the third quarter of 2005. This increase in price contributed to a year-over-year increase in fuel costs of $10.1 million. Excluding fuel cost, Net Cruise Costs per Capacity Day decreased 2.8% primarily due to a 10.9% decrease in marketing, selling and administrative expenses per Capacity Day as well as various operating efficiencies. Gross Cruise Costs per Capacity Day increased 4.3% from the third quarter of 2005.
“Our rapid expansion in inter-island Hawaii cruises and increased fuel costs continue to impact our results,” said Colin Veitch, president and chief executive officer of NCL Corporation Ltd. “In the near term, we still have a challenging road ahead of us in Hawaii, but with the stabilization of our NCL America fleet we expect to achieve operating improvements in 2007. We are in the process of implementing measures to reduce crew turnover and accelerate the rate at which product delivery scores have been improving. Our international fleet, where the big new ships continue to perform well, will see further addition of new modern vessels, one in the fourth quarter of this year and one in the fourth quarter of 2007, and the departure of two of our older mid-sized vessels, one in the second quarter and one in the fourth quarter of 2007.”
The Company continues to feel the effect of rising interest rates on its floating rate debt of $1.3 billion. As a result of higher interest rates and an increase in average outstanding borrowings, interest expense increased approximately 37.2% to $34.6 million in the third quarter of 2006 from $25.2 million in the third quarter of 2005.
Bookings continue to be closer to the sailing date than at the same time last year. Through the first quarter of 2007, the Company continues to see downward pressure on pricing, especially in Hawaii and the Caribbean. As a result, for the fourth quarter of 2006, the Company expects Net Yields to be down approximately 1% compared to the fourth quarter of 2005.
The Company has scheduled a conference call at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time today to discuss its earnings. This call can be listened to live or on a delayed basis on the Company’s web site at www.ncl.com/investors.
Terminology and Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Capacity Days represent double occupancy per cabin multiplied by the number of cruise days for the period.
Gross Cruise Costs
Gross Cruise Costs represent the sum of total cruise operating expenses and marketing, general and administrative expenses.
Gross Yields represent total revenues per Capacity Day.
Net Yields represent total revenues less commissions, transportation and other expenses, and onboard and other expenses per Capacity Day. The Company utilizes Net Yields to manage its business on a day-to-day basis and believes that it is the most relevant measure of its pricing performance and is commonly used in the cruise industry to measure pricing performance. The Company has not provided a quantitative reconciliation of projected Gross Yields to projected Net Yields due to the significant uncertainty in projecting the costs deducted to arrive at this measure. Accordingly, the Company does not believe that reconciling information for such projected figures would be meaningful.
Net Cruise Costs
Net Cruise Costs represent Gross Cruise Costs excluding commissions, transportation and other expenses and onboard and other expenses. In measuring the Company’s ability to control costs in a manner that positively impacts net income (loss), the Company believes changes in Net Cruise Costs and Net Cruise Costs Excluding Fuel to be the most relevant indicators of its performance and are commonly used in the cruise industry as measurements of costs.
Net Income (Loss) Excluding Non-Cash Foreign Exchange Translation
Net Income (Loss) Excluding Non-Cash Foreign Exchange Translation represents net income (loss) before the effect of non-cash foreign exchange translation gains and losses. The Company believes that this financial measure is useful because it excludes non-cash foreign exchange translation gains and losses related to the translation of balance sheet amounts which the Company believes are not relevant to understanding the trends of the Company’s operational performance or its prospects for future operational performance. Management uses this measure to establish operational goals and believes that it may assist in analyzing the underlying trends of the Company’s operational performance over time.
Passenger Cruise Days
Passenger Cruise Days represent the number of passengers carried for the period multiplied by the number of days in their respective cruises.
Occupancy Percentage, in accordance with cruise industry practice, represents the ratio of Passenger Cruise Days to Capacity Days. A percentage in excess of 100 indicates that three or more passengers occupied some cabins.
NCL Corporation Ltd. ("NCL") is an innovative cruise company headquartered in Miami, Florida, with a fleet of 15 ships in service and under construction. The corporation oversees the operations of Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America, and Orient Lines. The company is currently building two ships, Norwegian Pearl for delivery in November 2006 and Norwegian Gem for delivery in October of 2007.
In addition, NCL plans to build up to three new third generation Freestyle Cruising ships for delivery between 2009 and 2011. NCL is on target to have the youngest fleet in the industry by 2010, providing guests the opportunity to enjoy the flexibility of Freestyle Cruising on the newest, most contemporary ships at sea.
For further information, please contact NCL in the U.S. and Canada at (800) 327-7030; visit NCL’s website at www.ncl.com or on AOL at keyword: NCL; or to download high-resolution photography, visit www.ncl.com/hires.
Click here to view NCL Corporation LTD. Consolidated Statements of Operations, Balance Sheets, Cash Flows, and Non-GAAP Reconciling Information.
This earnings release may contain statements, estimates or projections that constitute “forward-looking statements” as defined under U.S. federal securities laws. Generally, the words “goal,” “future,” “forecast,” “will,” “may,” “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “projects,” “plans,” “seeks,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, which are not historical in nature. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from NCL’s historical results or those implied in forward-looking statements. These risks include, but are not limited to, changes in cruise capacity, as well as capacity changes in the overall vacation industry; introduction of competing itineraries and other products by other companies; changes in general economic, business and geo-political conditions; reduced consumer demand for cruises as a result of any number of reasons, including armed conflict, terrorist attacks, geo-political and economic uncertainties or the unavailability of air service, and the resulting concerns over the safety and security aspects of traveling; lack of acceptance of new itineraries, products or services by the Company’s targeted customers; the Company’s ability to implement brand strategies and its shipbuilding programs, and to continue to expand its business worldwide; changes in interest rates, fuel costs or foreign currency rates; delivery schedules of new ships; risks associated with operating internationally; the impact of spread of contagious diseases; accidents and other incidents affecting the health, safety, security and vacation satisfaction of passengers and causing damage to ships, which could cause the modification of itineraries or cancellation of a cruise or series of cruises; the Company’s ability to attract and retain qualified shipboard crew and maintain good relations with employee unions; changes in other operating costs such as crew, insurance and security costs; continued availability of attractive port destinations; the impact of pending or threatened litigation; the ability to obtain financing on terms that are favorable or consistent with the Company’s expectations; changes involving the tax, environmental, health, safety, security and other regulatory regimes in which we operate; emergency ship repairs; the implementation of regulations in the United States requiring United States citizens to obtain passports for travel to additional foreign destinations; weather and natural disasters; and other risks discussed in NCL’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results. NCL expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in expectations or events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based. In addition, certain financial measures in this earnings release constitute non-GAAP financial measures as defined by Regulation G. A reconciliation of these items can be found attached hereto and on the Company’s web site at www.ncl.com/investors.