Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. reported a $20 million loss in the fourth quarter, but the company’s shares jumped Thursday on news that more passengers are making plans to travel this year.The No. 2 cruise operator said that booking levels and ticket prices have been strengthening lately, with the company setting several booking records for its two lines in the “wave season” of heavy travel that lasts from January to March.
Royal Caribbean shares rose by US$2.11 (more than 5 percent), to $41.00 in trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.
In the three months ended Dec. 31, the company reported a loss of 10 cents a share, compared to a profit of $38.3 million, or 20 cents a share, a year ago. The results missed Wall Street analysts’ average forecast for a loss of 7 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call.
Revenues totalled $878 million, up 12 percent from $781 million for the same quarter in 2002. The boost came as Royal Caribbean, which operates a call centre in Wichita, introduced two ships last year.
But higher fuel prices and increased costs for ship repair and marketing hurt performance, the Miami-based company said.