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Royal Caribbean cancels 18 cruises due to virus, crimping profit

Nick Turner

Bloomberg

 /  Fri, February 14, 2020  /  10:40 am
Royal Caribbean cancels 18 cruises due to virus, crimping profit

Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas. (Royal Caribbean International /File)

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has canceled 18 sailings and rejiggered itineraries in response to the coronavirus outbreak, putting a crimp on the cruise company’s 2020 profit.

The upheaval will reduce earnings by 65 cents a share this year, Royal Caribbean said on Thursday. And if the company has to cancel its remaining departures in Asia through the end of April -- something it’s not currently planning to do -- it would lop an additional 55 cents off its outlook.

Read also: 'I'll let fate take its course': Indonesian crewmen brave virus fears aboard cruise ship

The shares fell as much as 2.7% to $110.60 after Royal Caribbean released the statement. Analysts had projected earnings of $10.21 a share this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The cruise market has been roiled by the virus, even in places untouched by the outbreak. Travel restrictions have forced the industry to turn away customers, and ships have been quarantined or not allowed to disembark in ports over fears of spreading the illness. Coronavirus has now killed at least 1,367 in China, and the country has recorded nearly 60,000 cases.

“It is important that every organization acts responsibly, and we have already taken aggressive steps to minimize risk through boarding restrictions and itinerary changes,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Fain said in a statement. “Our focus on public health is unwavering.”

Fears also have spread beyond Asia, Royal Caribbean said on Thursday. “While the early impact due to concerns about the coronavirus is mainly related to Asia, recent bookings for our broader business have also been softer,” the company said.

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