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Royal Caribbean Group boss Richard Fain reports $USD5.8 billion loss but is confident for the future.

February 24, 2021 Cruise News No Comments Email Email

The Royal Caribbean Group this week reported its financial results for the fiscal year of 2020 and commented on the business considering the global COVID-19 pandemic, with Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO saying, “The COVID-19 pandemic is having a painful and profound impact on our world and our business; unquestionably, this crisis is the most difficult in the Company’s history”, and “But we have been impressed and grateful for the resourcefulness and agility of our team in responding to these unprecedented challenges, and ”More importantly, we remain confident about the ability of our Company to recover and return to the positive trajectory we were on previously,” adding, “We are encouraged to see the sharp decline in cases and the growing availability of vaccines”, and “We can’t wait to get back to the business of showing people the world and making great memories.”

His report to investors said that as part of the global containment effort resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company implemented a voluntary suspension of its cruise operations beginning March 13, 2020, which has been extended for most ships through at least April 30, 2021.

For the full year, the Company reported US GAAP Net Loss of $(5.8) billion or $(27.05) per share compared to US GAAP Net Income of $1.9 billion or $8.95 per share in the prior year.

The Company also reported Adjusted Net Loss of $(3.9) billion or $(18.31) per share for full year 2020 compared to Adjusted Net Income of $2.0 billion or $9.54 per share in the prior year.

US GAAP Net Loss for the fourth quarter was $(1.4) billion or $(6.09) per share and Adjusted Net Loss was $(1.1) billion or $(5.02) per share. Last year, US GAAP Net Income was $273.1 million or $1.30 per share, and Adjusted Net Income was $297.4 million or $1.42 per share for the fourth quarter.

The Net Loss and Adjusted Net Loss for the fourth quarter and full year of 2020 are the result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the business.

Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO said, “These results reflect the staggering impact that the pandemic brought to our Company and the whole industry during 2020,” and  “I want to thank all our teams who have risen to the occasion, managing through the toughest year in Royal Caribbean’s history.”

The Company says it continues to work and collaborate with the Healthy Sail Panel, epidemiologists, health authorities and various governments around the globe to ensure a healthy and safe return to cruising for guests, crew and the communities visited. While the situation remains highly fluid, knowledge of the virus and how it spreads continues to improve.

The Company said it has already begun some limited operations. For example, in December, Quantum of the Seas started operating out of Singapore with in addition, its TUI Cruises affiliate has had three vessels operating in the Canary Islands since November.

Mr. Fain said, “Guests are sharing very positive reviews and we are also seeing a higher proportion of first-time cruisers than expected, adding, “We believe that these cruises, even before the availability of vaccines, are helping us learn and demonstrate to others how we can operate successfully under the current COVID-19 environment”.

The Company said it also continues to prepare and develop its plan to meet the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for US sailings and while the framework represents an important step to return to service, many uncertainties remain as to the specifics, timing, and cost of implementing its requirements.

Overall, and due to the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Company expects to re-start its global cruise operation in a phased manner with the initial cruises having reduced guest occupancy, modified itineraries and enhanced health and safety protocols.

On January 29, 2021, the Company announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell its Azamara brand in an all-cash transaction for $201 million. The deal includes Azamara’s three-ship fleet and associated intellectual property.

In an update on Liquidity Actions and Ongoing Uses of Cash the report said, since the suspension of its global cruise operation, the Company has taken aggressive actions to enhance its liquidity through significant cost and capital reductions, cash preservation measures and by obtaining additional financing.

During 2020, the Company raised approximately $9.3 billion of new capital through a combination of bond issuances, common stock public offerings and other loan facilities.

Given the current environment, the Company continues to work to bolster its liquidity, so it is well positioned for recovery. Among its latest efforts, the

The Company highlighted the following:

  • Completed a $1.0 billion “at-the-market” equity offering during the month of December 2020;
  • Amended its export credit facilities to defer $0.8 billion of principal amortization due before April 2022 and to waive financial covenants through at least the end of the third quarter of 2022;
  • Received approvals from its export credit agencies (ECAs) to defer an additional $0.4 billion of principal amortization due before April 2022 which are expected to be completed in Q1 2021; and
  • Amended over $4.9 billion of commercial bank facilities to provide covenant waivers through the end of the third quarter of 2022 and to reset covenant levels for the balance of 2022 and 2023.

The Company estimates its cash burn to be, on average, in the range of approximately $250 million to $290 million per month during a prolonged suspension of operations, with this range including all interest expenses, ongoing ship operating expenses, administrative expenses, hedging costs, expected necessary capital expenditures (net of committed financings in the case of newbuilds) and excludes changes in customer deposits, commissions, principal repayments, and fees and collateral postings related to financing and hedging activities.

As the Company starts returning its fleet into service, it has (with respect to existing operations) and will incur incremental spend as it brings the ships out of their various levels of layup, returns the crew to the vessels, takes the necessary steps to ensure compliance with the recommended protocols and gears up its sales and marketing activities.

As of December 31, 2020, the Company had liquidity of approximately $4.4 billion, including $3.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents and a $0.7 billion commitment from a 364-day facility, with the average monthly cash burn rate for the fourth quarter of 2020 consistent with the previously announced range, with Mr. Liberty saying, “We remain focused on improving our liquidity position, managing our operating expenditures and ensuring that our family of brands is ready for the return to service,” and “We are well positioned to emerge competitively stronger and are eager to start delivering world class vacations – which we expect will lead back to compelling returns and a strong balance sheet.”

The Company noted that as of February 22, 2021, the expected debt maturities for 2021 are $0.4 billion (assuming completion of the remaining $0.4 billion in ECA ship principal amortization deferrals) and Net Interest expense for the first quarter of 2021 is expected to be in the range of $243 million to $247 million.

The expected capital expenditures for 2021 are $2.1 billion, with these expenditures mainly driven by newbuild projects which have committed financing., with during 2021, the Company expects the delivery of Odyssey of the Seas and Silver Dawn during the first and fourth quarters, respectively.

Depreciation and amortization expenses for the first quarter of 2021 are expected to be approximately $310 million.

In 2022, the Company has two ship deliveries scheduled, both with committed financing: Wonder of the Seas and Celebrity Beyond. Excluding the newbuild deliveries, the capital expenditures for 2022 will depend on the Company’s schedule to return to service.

Since the suspension of operations and during 2020, the Company divested three ships from its fleet: Celebrity Xperience, Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas and the Company also divested three ships being used by its Pullmantur affiliate.

Additionally, the Company announced it entered into a definite agreement to sell its Azamara brand which includes three vessels: Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest and Azamara Pursuit.

As of December 31, 2020, the Company had hedged approximately 40%, 23% and 5% of its total projected metric tons of fuel consumption for 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively, with the current suspension of the cruise operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in reductions to the forecasted fuel consumption.

As of December 31, 2020, the Company had outstanding fuel swaps of 229,850 and 14,650 metric tons maturing in 2021 and 2022, respectively, that no longer hedge the forecasted fuel consumption. For 2021, 2022 and 2023, the annual average cost per metric ton of the fuel swap portfolio is approximately $435, $514, and $580, respectively.

Booking activity for the second half of 2021 is aligned with the Company’s anticipated resumption of cruising, with pricing on these bookings higher than 2019 both including and excluding the dilutive impact of future cruise credits (FCCs).

While the brands are still in the process of opening for sale the remainder of their 2022/2023 seasons, first and second quarter 2022 sailings have been open for some time, with cumulative advance bookings for the first half of 2022 within historical ranges and at higher prices and achieved with minimal sales and marketing spend which the Company believes highlights a strong long-term demand for cruising.

Since the last business update, approximately 75% of bookings made for 2021 are new and 25% are due to the redemption of FCCs and the “Lift & Shift” program.

The Company continues to provide guests on suspended sailings with the option to request a refund, to receive an FCC, or to “lift & shift” their booking to the following year.

As of December 31, 2020, the Company had $1.8 billion in customer deposits of which 50% are related to FCCs. Since the suspension of operations, approximately 53% of the guests booked on cancelled sailings have requested cash refunds.

Regarding the Outlook for 2021, the Company’s operation is still subject to the impact of COVID-19., consequently, the Company cannot reasonably estimate its financial or operational results.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Company expects to incur a net loss on both a US GAAP and adjusted basis for its first quarter and the 2021 fiscal year, the extent of which will depend on many factors including the timing and extent of the return to service.

An edited report from the RCG investor update by John Alwyn-Jones

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