Lindblad Expedition Holdings has reported first quarter 2018 tour revenues of $82.4 mill, an increase of $19.3 mill, or 31%, compared to the same period in 2017.
The increase was driven by growth of $17.3 mill at the Lindblad segment and a $2 mill increase at Natural Habitat.
Excluding the estimated $9.1 mill impact from voyage cancellations in 1Q17, total company revenue would have increased 14% versus the same period a year ago.
Lindblad segment tour revenue of $70.5 mill increased $17.3 mill, or 32%, compared to 1Q17, primarily due to a 26% increase in available guest nights, mostly from the launch of the ‘National Geographic Quest’ in July, 2017 and the impact of voyage cancellations for necessary repairs in the first quarter of 2017.
The year-on-year growth also reflects a 12% increase in net yield to $1,127, due to increased pricing and changes in itineraries, as well as an increase in occupancy to 91%, due to higher demand across the fleet.
Excluding the estimated impact from the voyage cancellations in 1Q17, Lindblad segment revenue would have increased 13% versus the same period a year ago.
Natural Habitat revenues of $12 mill increased $2 mill, or 20%, compared to the first quarter in the previous year, primarily due to higher ticket revenue from additional departures and increased pricing.
Net income available to common stockholders for 1Q18 was $10.8 mill, $0.24 per diluted share, compared to a net income of $0.6 mill, $0.01 per diluted share, in 1Q17.
This increase was primarily due to the higher operating results and $3.3 mill of lower stock-based compensation expense in the current year, partially offset by $1.9 mill of increased tax expense, $1.3 mill of higher depreciation and amortisation, due primarily to the addition of the ‘National Geographic Quest’ and costs of $1 mill related to refinancing the company’s credit facility.
First quarter adjusted EBITDA of $22.2 mill was an increase of $11.9 mill, or 116%, compared to the same period in 2017. This rise was driven by growth of $11 mill at the Lindblad segment and a $0.9 mill increase at Natural Habitat.
Lindblad segment adjusted EBITDA of $20.9 mill was an increase of $11 mill, or 112%, compared to 1Q17, as the increased tour revenues and lower charter costs, due mostly to a planned reduction in Cuba itineraries, were partially offset by operating costs on the ‘National Geographic Quest’.
The 1Q18 also included higher operating expenses, due to the cancelled voyages in the previous year, as well as higher commission expense related to the revenue growth and increased personnel costs.
Natural Habitat Adjusted EBITDA of $1.3 mill was an increase of $0.9 mill, compared to the first quarter of 2017, as the revenue growth was partially offset by increased personnel and marketing costs to drive long-term growth initiatives.
Sven-Olof Lindblad, President and CEO, said; “The strong financial results delivered by Lindblad during the first quarter are a continuation of the momentum we generated during the back half of 2017 and highlights the opportunity in front of us as we continue to add vessels to our fleet.
“The addition of the ‘National Geographic Quest’ in July of 2017 expanded our capacity by approximately 15% and as we have increased inventory we have grown our net yields and maintained high occupancy levels. This highlights the demand from both our loyal customer base and a growing audience seeking authentic expedition travel.
|“Bookings during 2018 remain very strong, up 20% versus the same period a year ago, and we are seeing broad based demand for travel on our existing fleet, as well as for the additional two ships we will be adding over the next couple of years. The ‘National Geographic Venture’ and the recently named ‘National Geographic Endurance’ will further increase our capacity in high demand geographies and will provide the opportunity to build additional shareholder value in the years ahead,” he concluded.|
The company’s cash and cash equivalents were $97.3 mill as of 31st March, 2018, compared with $96.4 mill as of 31st December, 2017. The increase primarily reflects $10.5 mill in net cash provided by operating activities, due to the improved operating performance and $18 mill in net cash provided by financing activities, primarily due to the increase in long-term debt associated with refinancing the credit facility.
These increases were mostly offset by purchases of property and equipment of $14.5 mill, primarily related to the construction of two new vessels, and a $13.2 mill increase in restricted cash related to higher deposits for travel on the company’s US flagged vessels.
On 8th January, 2018, the company entered into a senior secured credit agreement to make available, at the company’s option, a loan in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $107.7 mill for providing financing for up to 80% of the purchase price of the company’s new expedition ice-class vessel, ‘National Geographic Endurance’.
On 27th March, 2018, the company refinanced its existing senior secured term loan and revolving credit facility to a new $200 mill, seven-year, senior secured term loan facility and a $45 mill, five-year, revolving credit facility
The Company’s current expectations for the full year 2018 are as follows:
- Tour revenues of $308 – $315 mill (16 – 18% growth).
- Adjusted EBITDA of $54 – $57 mill (24 – 31% growth).
As of 30th April,, 2018, the Lindblad segment had 94% of full year 2018 projected guest ticket revenues on the books, versus 93% of full year 2017 revenue at the same time last year.