Lindblad Expeditions Holdings reported that third quarter 2020 tour revenues decreased $100 mill, or 99%, compared to the same period in 2019.
This decline was driven by a $76.6 mill drop at the Lindblad segment and a $23.4 mill decrease at Natural Habitat, as a result of rescheduling nearly all expeditions, due to COVID-19.
Net loss was $27.4 mill, or $0.56 per diluted share, compared with a net loss $0.5 mill, $0.01 per diluted share, in 3Q19.
The $26.9 mill decrease primarily reflects the impact of COVID-19 on operations and a $2.3 mill increase in depreciation and amortisation versus the same period a year ago, primarily due to the addition of the ‘National Geographic Endurance’ to the fleet in March, 2020, partially offset by a $1 mill foreign currency gain in the current year versus a $2.3 mill foreign currency loss in the third quarter of 2019.
Third quarter 2020 adjusted EBITDA loss of $17.5 mill was a $41.6 mill drop, compared to 3Q19. This decrease was driven by a $36.7 mill decline at the Lindblad segment and a $4.9 mill fall at Natural Habitat.
Lindblad segment adjusted EBITDA loss of $16.1 mill was a drop of $36.7 mill, compared to the third quarter a year ago, due primarily to the revenue impact of rescheduling all expeditions as a result of COVID-19 and costs associated with the ‘National Geographic Endurance ‘following her March, 2020 delivery.
The current quarter also included lower operating costs for the fleet while laid up, a reduction in commissions from the impact of COVID-19 on revenues and reduced marketing and personnel spending.
Natural Habitat’s adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $1.4 mill, a decreased of $4.9 mill versus 3Q19, primarily due to the lower revenue as a result of COVID-19, partially offset by lower operating costs due to rescheduled departures and a decline in marketing and personnel spend.
Sven-Olof Lindblad, President and CEO, said: “Since the COVID-19 pandemic began our focus has been on enhancing our existing rigorous protocols so we can return safely to the world’s most remarkable destinations, while ensuring we have enough liquidity to withstand the uncertain time out of service and emerge in a position of strength.
“The response from local authorities and our loyal guests to the extensive protocols we have developed has been overwhelmingly positive and we continue to move closer to resuming operations in geographies that we have been visiting for over 40 years.
“This past quarter, we continued to reduce our cost structure while further enhancing our financial position by raising additional capital from a diversified group of long-term investors. This investment will provide significant runway, as we prepare to return to exploring, while also providing us financial flexibility to pursue additional opportunities for growth as we emerge from the pandemic,” he said.
Due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the effects of travel restrictions around the world, the company has suspended or rescheduled the majority of its expeditions departing 16th March, 2020 through 31st December, 2020 and has rescheduled its 2020/2021 Antarctica season.
Ships are currently being maintained with minimally required crew on board to ensure they comply with all necessary regulations and can be fully put back into service quickly as needed.
Lindblad said it moved quickly to implement a comprehensive plan to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and preserve and enhance its liquidity position.
The company is employing a variety of cost reduction and cash preservation measures, while accessing available capital under its existing debt facilities and through the issuance of preferred equity, while exploring additional sources of capital and liquidity.
As of 26th October, 2020, Lindblad’s segment bookings for travel in 2020 were 74% below the same point a year ago, due primarily to the cancelled and rescheduled voyages.
The company claimed to have substantial advanced bookings for travel in 2021 and despite increased cancellations for travel in the first quarter of next year, total bookings for 2021 are 4% ahead of bookings for 2019, as of the same date in 2018 and only 12% below the same date a year ago for 2020.
For the last nine months of 2021, bookings are 12% ahead of the bookings for the same period in 2020, as of the same date a year ago.
As of 30th September, 2020, the company had $129.6 mill in unrestricted cash and $16.5 mill in restricted cash primarily related to deposits on future travel originating from US ports.
Lindblad estimated its monthly cash burn while its vessels are not in operation to be around $10 to $15 mill, including ship and office operating expenses, necessary capital expenditures and interest and principal payments. This excludes guest payments for future travel and cash refunds requested on previously made guest payments.
While it is uncertain when the company will return to operations, it said that it believed there were a variety of strategic advantages that should enable it to deploy its ships safely and quickly once travel restrictions have been lifted.
The most notable 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. The small nature of the company’s ships should also allow it to efficiently and effectively test its guests and crew prior to boarding.
On average, the company estimates it will only take a few thousand tests a month to ensure all guests and crew across its entire fleet have been tested.
In another move, Lindblad Expedition has named David Goodman as its Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer, effective 9th November, 2020.
Goodman has spent over 30 years running divisions of global multi-media organisations, overseeing revenue, marketing, content creation, production, product/technology, distribution and oversight of some of the world’s most recognisable brands and properties.
In his new role, based at the New York headquarters, Goodman is responsible for all revenue production and will lead marketing, sales, digital product development and strategic partnerships.