Royal Caribbean Still Reeling From Swine Flu

MIAMI, FLA. ( TheStreet) -- Royal Caribbean Cruises ( RCL) is still feeling the after-effects of swine flu. The cruise line operator swung to a loss in its second quarter, sending shares drowning in afternoon trading.

During the quarter, the company recorded a loss of $35.1 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with a profit of $84.7 million, or 40 cents, in the year-ago period. Analysts expected a loss of 13 cents a share.

Revenues declined 14.5% to $1.35 billion from $1.58 billion.

The swine-flu outbreak in April hurt the company's results by about 5 cents during the quarter and is expected to have 18-cent and 27-cent impacts in the third quarter and full year, respectively.

Royal Caribbean warned investors last month that the swine flu would weigh down results as it forced the cruise line to avoid Mexico ports.

The company also had to cancel the launch of Pullmantur's Pacific Dream, which targets Mexican nationals, and significantly lowered Pullmantur's Mexican tour capacity.

Looking ahead, Royal Caribbean expects third-quarter earnings in the range of 95 cents to $1 and full-year profit between 70 cents and 80 cents.

Shares plunged 15% to $13.97 in afternoon trading trading.

Last month, rival Carnival ( CCL) said its second-quarter earnings fell 32%, but still managed to sail past analysts' expectations. Swine flu hurt Carnival's earnings by 3 cents.

--Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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