Royal Caribbean Cruises' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 20, 2012 10:00 am ET


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

Richard D. Fain - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

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

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

Unknown Executive -


Assia Georgieva

Felicia R. Hendrix - Barclays Capital, Research Division

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

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

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

Steven E. Kent - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

James Hardiman - Longbow Research LLC

Gregory R. Badishkanian - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Robin M. Farley - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Jaime M. Katz - Morningstar Inc., Research Division

Kevin Milota - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Joseph D. Hovorka - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division



Good morning. My name is Keihlo, and I'll be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. First Quarter Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] I will now turn the conference over to Brian Rice.

Brian J. Rice

Thank you, Keihlo, and good morning, everyone. I'd like to thank each of you for joining us today for our first quarter earnings call. Joining us from London is Richard Fain, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and here in Miami with me are 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, which is on our first slide.

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 start with his comments. I will follow with a brief recap of our results, give an update on the booking environment and our guidance. Adam and Dan will follow with insights from their brands, and then we will open the call for your questions.


Richard D. Fain

Thanks, Brian, and thanks to all of you for joining us this morning. As you can tell from my comments in the press release, as well as our cautious messaging back in February, there really was a great deal of hesitancy on our part in providing earnings guidance so shortly after such an unprecedented industry event. But we did recognize the value of being transparent with the financial community, and we wanted to communicate as much information as we could even in the face of that uncertainty.

So far, we're actually tracking very nicely to the kind of ranges that we provided in early February. And as expected, we've continued to experience a slow but steady recovery in our booking patterns. Of course, I'd like it to be even faster, but the pattern that has emerged so far validates our earlier guidance. Essentially, as we reported this morning, our outlook for the year hasn't changed very much. The only significant variation in our earnings outlook for the year is fuel. That's very encouraging, but it is early days.

The market is still highly volatile, it’s highly uncertain and our guidance reflects a higher-than-typical degree of uncertainty. Even so, we've seen enough positive direction to justify narrowing our yield range by shaving a percentage point off the bottom-case scenario.

The pattern of the tragedy's impact is also informative and really quite logical. The closer one is to the location of the incident and the closer one is to the time of the incident, the greater the impact. Thus, for example, Europe, and especially Southern Europe, have been the most affected.

Also, the first quarter took a big hit, but it was also so heavily booked already that it was somewhat insulated from the impact. On the other hand, not surprisingly, the second and third quarters are suffering the most. They book a great deal during the WAVE period, and the summer is our most valuable season, especially in Europe.

With less of a cushion than the first quarter, they are therefore, and not surprisingly, the most vulnerable. On the other hand, as we enter the fall, we appear to be turning a corner. Sailings in the fourth quarter and for all of 2013 show promise. Both remain stronger than comparables from the same time last year, and I think that further validates our belief that this is a shorter-term issue.

Another point of encouragement is the strength of our developmental itineraries this year. Brazil performed nicely in the first quarter. Asia appears to be rebounding from last year's tsunami and then some, and Australia is nicely absorbing some meaningful growth in capacity this year. In fact, stepping back from industry and economic anomalies that are so frustratingly affecting our earnings, we're actually executing quite well against our multi-year strategic initiatives and globalization, improved credit ratings and improved returns.

2012 marks a big milestone for us in the globalization of our company as we expect that half of our guests will be coming from outside the United States this year. This has been a big push for us over the past years and has required a significant amount of effort -- of investment, both human and capital, and this goal of organically establishing our brands throughout the world appears to be bearing fruit.

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