* Fourth-quarter adjusted earnings $0.23/share vs est $0.18
* Revenue $1.85 bln vs est $1.85 bln
* Sees full-year earnings $3.20-$3.40/share vs est
* Shares up 3 pct
By Chris Peters
Jan 27 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd
forecast a stronger-than-expected profit for 2014 as more people
signed up for cruises at higher prices in Europe and Asia,
signaling a resurgence in demand in an industry plagued by
mishaps over the past two years.
Shares of the world's second-largest cruise operator rose 3
percent in morning trading, after the company also reported a
quarterly profit that comfortably beat Wall Street estimates.
"Demand is probably recovering a lot faster than investors
had expected," said Matthew Jacob, an analyst at ITG Investment
Over the past couple of years, the industry was swept by a
wave of negative publicity following a string of mishaps, the
highlight of which was the sinking of market leader Carnival
Corp's Costa Concordia in 2012.
Only last week, more than 300 passengers and crew members
fell ill aboard Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, forcing
the company to cut short a 10-day Caribbean cruise by two days.
However, such incidents were commonplace and would not
impact demand, Jacob said.
Royal Caribbean forecast full-year 2014 adjusted earnings of
$3.20-$3.40 per share. Analysts on average were expecting a
profit of $3.17 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"Despite the lingering impact of 2013's negative media
coverage on 2014, the year - and what it portends for future
returns - is looking highly promising," Chief Executive Richard
Fain said in a statement.
The company's booked load factors, or the percentage of
cabins booked on a cruise, were flat for the current quarter,
but are up year-over-year for the rest of 2014.
Net yields, a measure of ticket sales and money spent on
board, are expected to rise 2-3 percent in 2014, excluding
currency fluctuations, the company said.
Royal Caribbean also reported a better-than-expected profit
helped by strong last-minute bookings for its European and Asian
cruises, which made up for weakness in the Caribbean -- its
Net income was $7 million, or 3 cents per share, in the
fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $392.8
million, or $1.80 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, the company earned 23 cents per
share. Total revenue rose 2.7 percent to $1.85 billion.
Analysts on average had forecast earnings of 18 cents per
share on revenue of $1.85 billion.
Net yields rose 3.8 percent, excluding currency
Shares of the company were up 0.6 percent at $47.41 in late
morning trading on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares
of Carnival Corp were 0.8 percent at $39.50.