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Norwegian Cruise (NCLH) Up on Q1 Earnings Beat, Upbeat View

Zacks Equity Research

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. NCLH has reported better-than-expected results for the first quarter of 2019. With this, the company’s earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for nine consecutive quarters. Revenues also exceeded the consensus mark in three of the trailing four quarters.

The company’s quarterly results were aided by strong demand and a record booking trend. Also, a robust wave season has been boosting its profits. Norwegian Cruise raised guidance for earnings per share, which further boosted investors’ confidence.

Following the company’s quarterly results, shares surged 2.9% in the pre-market trading. Also, so far this year, Norwegian Cruise has witnessed 35.2% growth in shares, outpacing the industry’s 16.8% rally.


Earnings & Revenue Discussion

Adjusted earnings of 83 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 71 cents by 16.9%. The bottom line also grew 38.3% from the year-ago quarter.

Revenues were $1,403.6 million in the first quarter, slightly surpassing the consensus mark of $1,391 million, and grew 8.5% year over year. Revenues were driven by an improvement of 9.4% in passenger ticket revenues.

Total revenues were also favored by the addition of Norwegian Bliss along with robust growth in organic pricing across all core markets. Strong onboard spending also had positive bearings on the quarter’s revenues.

Onboard and other revenues increased 6.6% from the year-ago quarter. Gross yield (total revenue per Capacity Day) increased 2.8% in the quarter on a year-over-year basis.

On a constant-currency basis, net yield increased 4.1% in the first quarter of 2019. The measure was up 3.2% on a reported basis.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

 

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. Quote

Expenses & Operating Results

Total cruise operating expenses increased 7.6% in the quarter under review from the year-ago quarter. This increase is attributable to growth Capacity Days.

Gross cruise costs per capacity day increased 2.4%. Adjusted Net cruise costs (excluding fuel) per Capacity Day increased 3.6% on a constant-currency basis and 3% on a reported basis. Fuel price per metric ton (net of hedges) increased 2.9% to $461 in the quarter under review.

Net interest expenses were $73.5 million in the first quarter of 2019, up from $59.7 million in the first quarter of 2018.

Balance Sheet

Cash and cash equivalents as of Mar 31, 2019, were $304.7 million, up from $163.9 million as of Dec 31, 2018. Long-term debt at the end of the first quarter totaled $5.9 billion, up from $5.8 billion at the end of 2018.

Second-Quarter 2019 Guidance

For the second quarter of 2019, Norwegian Cruise expects adjusted earnings to be $1.33 per share, above the consensus estimate of $1.26.

Net yield is expected to be 5.5% at constant currency. The company expects net cruise costs (excluding Fuel per Capacity Day) to be roughly 5.3% in constant currency.

2019 Outlook

For 2019, Norwegian Cruise expects adjusted EPS of $5.40 to $5.50, up from the earlier $5.20-$5.30. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in 2019 stands at $5.45, below the mid-point of the company’s guided range.

Net yield is expected to be 3.5% to 4.5% while adjusted Net cruise costs are anticipated to be roughly 3.5% (both in constant currencies).

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Norwegian Cruise currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the industry are Planet Fitness PLNT, SeaWorld Entertainment SEAS and Madison Square Garden MSG, each currently carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Planet Fitness and SeaWorld Entertainment’s earnings for 2019 are expected to grow 27.1% and 134.6%, respectively. Madison Square Garden’s earnings in 2020 are expected to increase 36.9%.

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