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Lower interest bill, non operating costs power RCCL to record first quarter net profit

A fall in non operating costs led by a 15% fall in net interest expenses helped Royal Caribbean Cruises, Limited (RCCL), the world’s second largest cruise shipping group to report a record first quarter net profit of $218.6 million.

Revenues rose a fraction, to $2.03 billion from $2.00 billion in the first three months of last year, while operating profit shrank to $274.1 million from $279.5 million. Net profit rose to $218.6 million from $214.7 million year on, helped by a fall in non operating expenses to $55.5 million from $64.8 million.   Net interest expenses dropped by 15% to $67.9 million.

“The company reported first quarter US GAAP earnings of $1.02 per share and adjusted earnings of $1.09 per share beating guidance due to better revenue,” the company said in a statement, adding that during this quarter the company completed the $500 million share repurchase program authorized a year ago. The number of shares outstanding amounted to 212.6 million at the end of the quarter, down from 214.9 million year on.

Gross Yields rose 3.1% in Constant-Currency and 5.1% As-Reported in the quarter, year on, while Net Yields increased by 4.9% in Constant-Currency and by 7.0% As-Reported.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCD increased 5.0% in Constant-Currency and by 6.1% As-Reported. Net Cruise Costs excluding fuel per available passenger capacity day (APCD) increased by 11.2% in Constant-Currency.

Overall, the company's booked position remains at a record level, better than last year in both rate and volume.

"This year is proving to be another strong year with all our brands firing on all cylinders," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO.  "The market continues to support our growth as our people keep focused on delivering our targets and goals. The strength of this market plus our new ships in 2018 (Symphony of the Seas, Azamara Pursuit, Mein Schiff 1 and Celebrity Edge), position us nicely for 2019 as well."