Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 27, 2011 10:00 am ET


Brian J. Rice - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Daniel J. Hanrahan - Chief Executive of Celebrity Cruises and President of Celebrity Cruises

Adam M. Goldstein - Chief Executive of Royal Caribbean International and President of Royal Caribbean International

Richard D. Fain - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer


Harry Curtis - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

Janet Brashear - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Timothy A. Conder - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Gregory R. Badishkanian - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Steven Wieczynski - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Sharon Zackfia - William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division

Felicia R. Hendrix - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Steven Kent - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Robin M. Farley - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Assia Georgieva - Infinity Research

Kevin Milota - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division



Good morning. My name is Rebecca, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Third Quarter Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Brian Rice. You may begin.

Brian J. Rice

Thank you, Rebecca, and good morning, everyone. I'd like to thank each of you for joining us this morning for our third quarter earnings call. With me here today are Richard Fain, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Adam Goldstein, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International; Dan Hanrahan, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises; and Ian Bailey, our Vice President of Investor Relations. During this call, we will be referring to a few slides which we have posted on our Investor website,

Before we get started, I would like to refer you to our notice about forward-looking statements. During this call, we will be making comments that are forward-looking. These statements do not guarantee future performance and do involve risks and uncertainties. Examples are described in our SEC filings and other disclosures. Additionally, we will be discussing certain financial measures, which are non-GAAP as defined, and a reconciliation of these items can be found on our website.

Richard will begin with his comments. I will follow with a recap of our results and update our forward guidance. Adam and Dan will then talk more about our brands and provide you with some insight into recent consumer research we have done and modifications we have made to our deployment as a result of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Following which, we will open the call for your questions. Richard?

Richard D. Fain

Thank you, Brian, and thanks to all of you for joining us this morning. As always, I enjoy the opportunity to talk about the status of our business and it gives me an opportunity to discuss a little bit about where we're heading.

First of all, I don't have to tell you that it's important to recognize the volatility around the political and economic headlines is creating a great deal of uncertainty and angst for us and for everybody else. As an increasingly global enterprise, we are whipsawed, again, like everyone else, by the rapidly changing political and economic wins that are blowing across the United States and Europe. Against this background, our business has actually demonstrated a remarkable stability.

Looking at our current performance, the 2 main observations that we, as a management team, have come to are: a, our business in the third quarter is basically on target with our expectations and so is the fourth quarter; and b, our forward bookings are solid and they continue to come in at a good pace. Having said that, we continue to be frustrated by the volatility that outside forces have on some of our items, particularly below the line.

For example, the rapid swings in oil prices and foreign exchange rates do impact our bottom line and we are well aware that the bottom line is what everyone focuses on. At the beginning of the year, those swings helped us. The more recent swings have come back to hurt us and if you look at the year as a whole, they were positive and we intend to continue to focus on the sustained performance, not on the quarterly swings. Nevertheless, we do recognize how frustrating it is if one looks at it on a quarterly basis. In this regard, we thought it might be helpful if we reviewed how our situation has changed during this calendar year.

Slide 2 in the presentation that you can see online shows how we've gotten from our original guidance, midpoint of $3.35 earnings per share for the year to our current expectation of a midpoint of $2.75. As you can see on the left, there have been 2 main hits. The first and biggest, of course, relates to be the geopolitical disruptions in the Eastern Mediterranean and also the problems in Japan. And the second, was the accounting error that we discovered in July.

As you can see, essentially what happened -- and I'm sorry, on the right, which you can see is essentially what happened in the rest of our business. For the year as a whole, our actual performance of the business outside of those 2 areas was quite bit better than expected. First, and very importantly, costs were well controlled. The right-hand bar on cost, also I would note, is after the increase in fuel costs so it's quite an impressive cost performance. The bar mark Other includes revenue, which also includes everything that happened in the Western Mediterranean items, foreign exchange and other, and that came in about as expected. What happened was itineraries in places like the Caribbean and Alaska performed better than expected and these improvements even offset areas that were hurt by the bad economy and by other political turmoil.

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