NCL sees revival infinancial fortunes

NCL sees revival infinancial fortunes

NORWEGIAN Cruise Line claims to have completed a recovery in its financial fortunes as it started trading on the New York Stock Exchange on July 9.

Latest figures show the cruiseline's operating income for the first quarter of 1999 was $10.6m, up from $1m in the same period the previous year. Overall operating income for 1998 was up 74% to $66.4m.

The cruiseline, which also trades on the Oslo Stock Exchange, claims the move will raise investor awareness and exploit the current boom in the cruising industry. It may also open the way for a money-raising share issue in the future.

UK executive director Bill Ellerington said: "It is a seal of credibility for the company. Before you get listed you have to be thoroughly investigated. It gives the all-clear on our finances."

NCL also said its increased capacity has helped the cruiseline to achieve the turnaround. After the new ship Norwegian Sky is launched in August, the cruiseline's total capacity will consist of 14,450 berths - a rise of 65% since June 1997.

The growth was achieved by lengthening three ships - Norwegian Dream, Norwegian Majesty and Norwegian Wind, and the acquisition of new vessels such as Marco Polo, which is operated under the Orient Line brand. The newly built ship Norwegian Sky has a capacity of 2,002 passengers.

UK marketing manager Jim Millward reported strong sales for its new ships.

"There is a demand for the NCL brand. We are recognised as offering a slightly different product from riavls.

"We are not building big mega ships, because there is a niche for medium-sized ships. The focus is on personal service and unusual itineraries like Hawaii, cruising to the Caribbean out of Houston, and South America."

NCL has confirmed it will build another ship for delivery in 2001, but no name has been announced, with an additional ship planned for 2002, although this has not yet been given the go-ahead.

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