Lindblad Expeditions Holdings’ first quarter 2022 tour revenues were $67.8 mill, an increase of $66 mill, compared to the same period in 2021.
This increase was driven by a $49.8 mill rise at the Lindblad segment and a $16.3 mill increase at the Land Experiences sector, primarily due to the ramp up in expeditions and trips, compared with rescheduling nearly all expeditions and trips in the first quarter a year ago due to COVID-19.
The Land Experiences segment also included a full quarter of results for Off the Beaten Path and DuVine Cycling + Adventure Co (DuVine), which were acquired during 1Q21, and Classic Journeys, which was purchased during 4Q21.
However, the group suffered a net loss of $43 mill, $0.85 per diluted share, compared with net loss of $34.6 mill, $0.66 per diluted share, in 1Q21.
The $8.5 mill loss increase was primarily due to the ramp up of operations, which was more than offset by investments in future growth, a $3 mill increase in interest expense, due to additional borrowings at higher rates and a $3 mill increase in depreciation and amortisation primarily due to the addition of the ’National Geographic Resolution’ to the fleet in September, 2021.
Also included is an $11.6 mill increase in other income mainly due to the utilisation of the CERTS grant for covered expenses, mostly offset by $10.9 mill of costs related to refinancing the company’s term loan and revolving credit facilities.
A 1Q22 adjusted EBITDA loss of $21.2 mill was a decrease of $0.4 mill, compared to the same period in 2021, as a $3 mill decline at the Lindblad segment was mostly offset by a $2.6 mill increase at the Land Experiences segment.
Lindblad segment adjusted EBITDA loss of $21 mill was $3 mill greater than 2021, as increased tour revenues were more than offset by higher cost of tours and increased 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 growth.
Land Experiences segment adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $0.2 mill, an improvement $2.6 mill, compared to 2021, primarily due to additional trips, partially offset by higher cost of tours and increased personnel costs related to the ramp up in operations and increased marketing costs to drive future bookings.
CEO Dolf Berle (pictured), said; “Lindblad is well on its way to returning to full operations, having already provided unforgettable experiences to our guests across nine of our 10 owned ships in some of the world’s most amazing geographies.
“As our guests return with us to destinations, we have been operating in for decades, the desire to get out and explore has never been more evident from both returning guests, and new travellers who are searching for unique and authentic experiences after being limited in that opportunity over the last several years.
“There will continue to be some short-term headwinds as we emerge from the pandemic and as we reschedule several upcoming itineraries due to the Russia/Ukraine conflict.
“However, with guest demand accelerating and expanded earnings power from a growing fleet that includes our two new Polar ships, already receiving rave reviews from our guests, and a diverse product portfolio that has expanded our addressable market, we are very well situated to deliver results well ahead of pre-pandemic levels in the years ahead,” he said.
Lindblad continued to ramp up its operations during 1Q22, providing expeditions to guests on nine of its 10 owned vessels, including trips to Antarctica, Baja California’s Sea of Cortez, Bahamas, Belize, Costa Rica and Panama, and the Galápagos.
Due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the effects of travel restrictions worldwide, the company had previously suspended or rescheduled the majority of its expeditions departing between 16th March, 2020 through 31st May, 2021.
Travel restrictions related to COVID-19 have diminished dramatically, and the company said that it continued to work with local authorities on plans to operate itineraries in additional areas during 2022 and 2023.
Where travel restrictions remain, which now also includes a limited number of itineraries impacted by the Russia/Ukraine conflict, the company is working with guests to reschedule travel plans and refund payments or issue future travel certificates, as appropriate.
Lindblad said that there are a variety of strategic advantages that enable it to deploy the ships safely and quickly, while mitigating the risk of COVID-19 as travel restrictions are 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. Their small nature also allows it to efficiently and effectively test its guests and crew prior to boarding, or as otherwise needed.
In addition, all guests 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 influence.
Lindblad claimed to have substantial advance reservations for future travel despite some continued short-term impact from the COVID-19 virus, including elevated cancellations and softness in near-term demand, as well as itinerary changes on a few upcoming voyages, due to the Russia/Ukraine conflict.
Bookings for 2H22 are 50% ahead of those recorded for 2H19, and bookings for 2023 are 32% ahead of the bookings for the full year 2020 at the same point in 2019, which was prior to the pandemic.
As of 31st March, 2022, the company had $154.8 mill in unrestricted cash and $30 mill in restricted cash primarily related to deposits on future travel originating from US ports and credit card reserves.
At the same time, Lindblad had a total debt position of $584.1 mill and was in compliance with all of its debt covenants.