Lindblad narrows losses

2024-03-01T19:04:51+00:00 March 1st, 2024|Finance|

For 2023, Lindblad Expedition Holdings reported that its net loss had improved to $50 mill, or 0.94 per diluted share, compared to a loss of $116.1 mill, or $2.23 per diluted share, for the previous year.

The $66.1 mill improvement primarily reflected the ramp up in operations, partially offset by a $7.5 mill increase in interest expense, due to additional borrowings and higher rates, a $6.9 mill increase in stock-based compensation and a $3.8 mill increase in other expenses primarily from the write-off of $3.9 mill in deferred financing fees, due to refinancing the company’s export credit facilities.

Full year tour revenues of $569.5 mill increased $148 mill, or 35%, compared to 2022. The increase was driven by a $119 mill rise at the Lindblad segment and a $29.1 mill increase at the Land Experiences segment.

Lindblad segment tour revenues of $397.4 mill increased by 43%, compared to 2022, primarily due to a 33% increase in available guest nights as operations continued to increase. The year-on-year growth was also driven by a 12% increase in net yield per available guest night to $1,097 driven by increased pricing and higher occupancy of 77% in 2023, compared to 75% the year before.

Land Experiences tour revenues of $172.1 mill increased $29.1 mill, or 20%, compared to 2022, primarily due to additional departures and higher pricing.

Full year adjusted EBITDA of $71.2 mill was an increased of $82.7 mill, compared to 2022 driven by a $77.6 mill rise at the Lindblad segment and a $5.1 mill increase at the Land Experiences segment.

Lindblad segment adjusted EBITDA of $48.5 mill was an increase of $77.6 mill, compared to 2022, primarily due to increased tour revenues, partially offset by higher cost of tours and personnel costs related to the ramp up in operations, increased commissions related to the revenue and bookings growth and higher marketing spend to drive future bookings.

Land Experiences segment adjusted EBITDA was $22.8 mill, an increase of $5.1 mill, or 29%, compared to 2022, as rising tour revenues were mostly offset by higher cost of tours and increased personnel costs also related to the ramp up  in operations and higher marketing costs to drive future bookings.

Fourth quarter 2023 tour revenues of $125.4 mill increased $7.4 mill, or 6%, compared to the same period in 2022. This increase was driven by a $5.4 mill rise at the Lindblad segment and a $2 mill increase at the Land Experiences segment.

Lindblad segment tour revenues of $85.8 mill increased $5.4 mill, or 7%,compared to 4Q22, primarily due to an 18% increase in available guest nights. The year-on-year growth was partially offset by an 8% decline in net yield per available guest night to $1,021, mainly due to the impact of transit voyages in the year, which resulted in decreased pricing and lower occupancy of 70%, compared to 76% in 4Q22.

Land Experiences tour revenues of $39.6 mill increased $2 mill, or 5%, compared to 4Q22, primarily due to additional departures and higher pricing.

The 4Q23 net loss was $28.5 mill, or $0.53 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $33.2 mill, $0.63 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2022. The $4.7 mill improvement mainly reflected the ramp in operations, partially offset by a $4 mill decline in tax benefit, due to the improved operating results, a $2.9 mill increase in stock-based compensation and $2.2 mill of higher depreciation and amortisation.

Fourth quarter 2023 adjusted EBITDA of $3.8 mill increased $6.6 mill, compared to the same period in 2022 driven by a $5.2 mill improvement at the Lindblad segment and a $1.4 mill increase at the Land Experiences segment.

CEO, Sven Lindblad (pictured), said “The record full year results we delivered in 2023 provides a glimpse of the earnings power of the company, as we further ramp our expedition operations and maximise the potential across our platform of leading land-based travel companies.

“The strategic investments we have already made to expand our ship capacity and diversify our land-based product offerings provides us significant opportunity in both the short and long-term given the growing market demand for authentic and immersive experiential travel.

“This past quarter we took another important step to solidify and accelerate that opportunity by extending, and most importantly, expanding our strategic relationship with National Geographic. Over the past two decades, our intuitive connection and shared ethos has positively impacted hundreds of thousands of guests, while also providing meaningful support to some of the world’s most remarkable destinations.

“The expanded agreement will enable us to build on that success in the years ahead, as we expand our addressable audiences, develop additional innovative expeditions and reach more citizen explorers than ever before,” he said.

In November, 2023 Lindblad extended and expanded its 20-year relationship with National Geographic for another 17 years, with a commitment through 2040.

The new agreement will allow the brand to reach extra worldwide audiences through global rights to the National Geographic brand for expedition cruises, by leveraging of The Walt Disney Company, as an affiliate of National Geographic Partners to distribute product through Disney’s powerful sales channels and support robust joint marketing campaigns, and through enhancements to the on board guest experience with more immersive storytelling and experiences connected to the National Geographic brand.

This expanded relationship will elevate the brand’s position as the leader in expedition cruises and will increase the earnings potential of the company by opening larger addressable markets and potential expansion into additional market segments through: a global license to use the National Geographic Expeditions brand to market, sell and operate co-branded trips on expedition ships; exclusivity on trips marketed in the US and Canada for ships up to 295 pax, with the ability to expand that exclusive license globally and to ships with guest capacity of up to 530 pax; and a global license to market co-branded river cruises.

Lindblad’s cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term securities totalled $187.3 mill as of 31st December, 2023,  compared with $129.6 mill at the end of the previous year.

The increase primarily reflected $60.7 mill in net cash from financing activities, primarily related to the May issuance of $275 mill of 9% senior secured notes and $25.4 mill in cash from operations, due to the strong operating performance and increased bookings for future travel.

This was partially offset by $30 mill in cash used to purchase property and equipment, predominantly related to maintenance on existing vessels and investments in digital initiatives.

As of 31st December, 2023, the company had a total debt position of $635.1 mill and was in compliance with all of its applicable debt covenants.

Current expectations for the full year 2024 are as follows:

  • Tour revenues of $610 – $630 mill.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $88 – $98 mill.

The company reported substantial advance reservations for future travel with strong gross bookings, partially offset by the short-term impact of instability in Ecuador and the Middle East.

As of 26th February, 2024, bookings for travel this year have increased 2%, compared with bookings in 2023 as of the same date a year ago and the Lindblad segment had 87% of full year 2024 projected guest ticket revenues already on the books.