Lindblad Expeditions Holdings has reported third quarter tour revenues of $64.5 mill, an increase of $63.5 mill, compared to the same period in 2020.
This rise was driven by a $33.1 mill increase at the Lindblad segment and a $30.4 mill increase at the Land Experiences segment, primarily due to the resumption of additional expeditions and trips during 3Q21.
The Land Experiences segment also included the results of Off the Beaten Path and DuVine Cycling + Adventure, which were acquired during the first quarter of this year.
Third quarter net loss was $25.7 mill, $0.50 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $27.8 mill, $0.56 per diluted share, in 3Q20.
The $2.1 mill improvement primarily reflected the resumption of additional expeditions and trips, as well as a $4.4 mill increase in other income, mainly due to the utilisation of the CERTS grant for covered expenses.
However, these increases were partially offset by a $2.5 mill tax expense in the current year versus a $2.9 mill tax benefit in 3Q20, $1.4 mill foreign currency loss in the current year versus a $1 mill gain in the third quarter of 2020 and a $1.5 mill increase in interest expense, due to additional borrowings and higher rates.
Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $6.6 mill, which was a $10.9 mill improvement, compared to the same period in 2020. This increase was driven by a $4.5 mill improvement at the Lindblad segment and a $6.4 mill improvement at the Land Experiences segment.
Lindblad segment adjusted EBITDA loss of $11.6 mill improved by $4.5 mill, versus 3Q20, primarily due to the resumption of expeditions, partially offset by higher cost of tours, increased personnel costs and higher marketing spend related to ramping up operations, as well as increased credit card commissions related to final payments for upcoming trips and deposits for future travel.
Land Experiences segment’s adjusted EBITDA of $5 mill was a $6.4 mill improvement versus the third quarter a year ago, primarily due to additional trips, partially offset by higher cost of tours and increased personnel costs related to the additional departures and increased marketing costs to drive long-term growth initiatives.
CEO Dolf Berle (pictured), said: “We are extremely excited to have nearly all of our ships back exploring the world’s most remarkable destinations, providing high-quality and immersive expeditions to our loyal guests.
“The pent-up demand for authentic adventure travel is evident in both the overwhelmingly positive guest response as we return to destinations that we have been travelling to for decades, as well as in the sustained booking momentum we are generating across our fleet.
“This momentum also goes beyond our ship-based offerings with our platform of land-based businesses delivering positive earnings in the quarter, capitalising on the robust demand for experiential travel.
“As we continue to ramp up existing operations, we have also further expanded our growth opportunities moving forward with the delivery of our fourth polar ship, the ’National Geographic Resolution’, and with the acquisition of leading travel provider Classic Journeys.
“While not yet fully back to where we were prior to the pandemic, Lindblad is emerging from the pandemic as a vibrant company with a strong balance sheet, real operating momentum and a broader set of opportunities that will allow us to deliver additional shareholder value in the years ahead,” he concluded.
Lindblad resumed ship operations in June this year and currently has eight of its 10 vessels operating. During June, 2021, the company launched three ships in Alaska and another in the Galapagos, and, during the third quarter, resumed operations with the majority of its remaining vessels as additional ships started operating in Alaska, the Galapagos, Iceland and the Pacific Northwest.
The company said that there were a variety of strategic advantages that enable it to deploy its ships safely and quickly, while mitigating the risk of COVID-19, as travel restrictions are lifted. Most notably is the size of its owned and operated vessels, which range from 48 to 148 pax, allowing for a highly controlled environment that includes stringent cleaning protocols.
By operating small ships, this allows Lindblad to efficiently and effectively test its guests and crew prior to boarding. In addition, all guests age 12 and over, crew and staff are required to be fully vaccinated and the majority of expeditions take place in remote locations where human interactions are limited, so there is less opportunity for external influences.
While the ships were not in operation, the majority of the fleet was maintained with minimal crew on board to ensure they complied with all necessary regulations and could be fully put back into service quickly as needed.
The company’s offices mainly remain closed, and most employees are working remotely to maintain general business operations, provide assistance to existing and potential guests and maintain information technology systems.
As of 30th September 2021, Lindblad had $155.6 mill in unrestricted cash and $29.5 mill in restricted cash, primarily related to deposits on future travel originating from US ports and credit card reserves.
During August, 2021, the company received a $21 mill grant under the US Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services (CERTS) Act. Following the quarter, the company received an additional $6 mill, representing the remainder of the CERTS grant.
As of the same date, the company had a total debt of $561.8 mill and was in compliance with all of its debt covenants.
As Lindblad continues to ramp up operations, monthly cash usage will increase as it incurs costs in operating expeditions, prepares additional ships for return to service and spends to market and advertise upcoming expeditions and trips.
The company also anticipated a significant increase in guest payments, as it receives final payments for upcoming expeditions and trips, as well as deposits for new reservations for future travel.