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STX Europe’s Cruise & Ferry business area returns to profit

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines
A gradual improvement of market conditions helped the Cruise & Ferry business area of STX Europe, the Oslo based unit of the South Korean STX Business Group, to return to an operating profit.

In the third quarter of this year, EBITDA improved to a positive figure of NOK 96 million from a negative one of NOK38 mllion in the same period last year. For the first nine months of 2011, EBITDA was positive by NOK161 million compared to a figure negative by NOK309 million for January-September 2010.

“Market conditions have gradually and slowly improved during 2011, however the macroeconomic picture is fragile and unstable at the moment and it is difficult to predict how this will affect the market. Despite a challenging market for new buildings, the number of potential projects within the market allows us to be cautiously optimistic about the market conditions and outlook,” the company said in a statement.

“In addition to increased activity within the cruise and ferries market, STX France and STX Finland are through diversification moving into other market segments where the yards have considerable experience and know-how. Such markets include vessels for naval operations, offshore related constructions and renewable energy/wind. The focus in ice-breaking/Arctic tonnage will continue to remain a key strategic focus, predominantly in Finland,” the company continued.

“The business area has a strong focus to secure more orders and to improve its cost base and long term competitiveness. STX Europe is committed to remaining a world leading shipbuilder of cruise vessels, ferries and other specialized vessels at its yards in Finland and France,” STX Europe said.

Is RCCL planning four Sunshine class ships?

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Earlier this year Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) said it had ordered one 4,200 passenger cruise liner of the new Sunshine class at Meyer Werft in Germany for its Royal Caribbean International contemporary market brand.

However, this week a subcontractor company said it has won an order for two ships of the type, plus options for two more.

“Meyer Werft GmbH, the German shipbuilder, has chosen Koja Oy to supply the air conditioning systems for two giant cruise ships. The contract also includes an option for air conditioning of further two giant ships,” said Koja Oy, the Finnish air conditioning system specliast.

Koja’s statement then said the ships would be built for RCCL and be more than 350 metres in length and accommodate 4,200 passengers each. The contract with Meyer Werft would provide work for Koja until 2015 and if the options are included until 2017, the company noted.  




Costa Crociere becomes first cruise company to set up wholly-owned foreign enterprise for cruise services in China

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines

Costa Crociere S.p.A. will establish the cruise industry’s first wholly-owned foreign enterprise (WOFE) in China. The new company will be located in Shanghai, Costa’s home port city in China, offering commercial and financial services to local travel partners and passengers, such as marketing, ticketing and collection.

"We are proud to be the first cruise company to set up a WOFE in China. Since 2006, when Costa was the first cruise company to enter the Chinese cruise market, Costa has worked closely with local government authorities to continuously propel the development of the Chinese cruise industry and act as a market pioneer in opening up new prospects. The WOFE status is our new instrument to develop business in China and enhance our commitment to long-term development in this marketplace. I would like to thank for this important achievement the local government authorities, in particular the Ministry of Transport and the Shanghai Municipality," said Mr. Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman and CEO of Costa Crociere S.p.A.

Gianni Onorato, President of Costa Crociere S.p.A., added: "As the leading player in the market and an innovative cruise company, we always seek new ways to operate, establish new cruise itineraries, as well as to develop new cruise experiences for our Chinese passengers. In the past six years of our operation in China, we have achieved most of these targets thanks to the efforts and cooperation extended by the local authorities, in particular the Ministry of Transport and the Shanghai Municipality. With the new WOFE’s support, we are confident we will entice more Chinese consumers to experience the extraordinary holidays offered on our cruise ships, including the upcoming Costa Victoria, which will be deployed in China in 2012." 

Being the first international cruise company to enter the Chinese market, Costa has become one of the best recognized, beloved and most popular tourism brands in the country. By October 2011, more than 170,000 Chinese passengers travelled on Costa’s Italian Style inspired cruises.

In the year 2011, the China Ministry of Transport revised the Approval of Foreign-owned Shipping Company Interim Measures and granted permission to foreign cruise companies operating in China to establish wholly-owned institutions. Once again, Costa becomes the pioneer to receive approval under the new government regulation. Costa’s new WOFE status will have the scope of soliciting passengers, issuing tickets, processing proceeds and payment in RMB.

On 18th November, Gianni Onorato, President of Costa Crociere S.p.A. attended the grand ceremony held jointly with Shanghai Municipality, HongKou District and other influential local authorities to celebrate the establishment of the new WOFE.

Cruise Shipping Asia called success by participants

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Top Headlines
The premiere edition of Cruise Shipping Asia closed yesterday, with participants -- cruise line representatives and exhibiting companies -- agreeing the event holds great promise for the future of the cruise industry in the Asia-Pacific region. The three-day conference and trade show, held at the Marina Bay Expo Centre in Singapore, attracted attendees from across the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of world.

Cruise Shipping Asia 2012 is scheduled for October 17-19, 2012, and will be held in Singapore.

Organized by UBM, the event included a full conference program of panel discussions, a trade fair, business-matching program and travel agent training sessions.

"We were very pleased with the level of excitement and interaction between the attendees over the three days of conference sessions, trade show activity and social functions," said Michael Kazakoff, vice president of UBM Live, organizers of the series of the world's leading cruise events. "As cruise lines commit more and newer tonnage to Asia, growth will accelerate, and Cruise Shipping Asia provided and will continue to provide in the future, an excellent platform for learning, networking and creating business opportunities."

The tone of the conference and trade show was upbeat. Under the theme of "Gateway to Tomorrow's Marketplace," the conference focused on the growth potential of the pan-Asia region and how to accommodate the rapid market expansion predicted for the Asian cruise business.

"There is no doubt that the Asia Pacific region for the cruise industry is a giant that is awakening, it will take time and investment and planning," said Michael Duck, executive vice president of UBM Asia. "This event has shown that there is a tremendous interest, but one or two companies cannot grow the interest on their own, it needs a platform which CSA provides to all parties to prove to countries, regions, ports and other stakeholders that the infrastructure needs to be in place, and that the market needs educating both in terms of potential customers and the travel industry itself."

"Asia holds promising opportunities for the cruise industry, and the inaugural Cruise Shipping Asia event gives us all a foothold in shaping what comes next," said Michael Bayley, executive vice president, international, Royal Caribbean International. "From port infrastructure development to attracting tourists from around the world, our industry can be instrumental in Asia's future growth."

Among the exhibiting tourism organizations were the Japan National Tourist Organization, Korean Tourism Organization, Tourism Malaysia and the Philippine Department of Tourism.

"Exhibiting at Cruise Shipping Asia offered us a phenomenal platform to continue conversations with existing contacts as well as serve as a starting point to develop new business opportunities in the region," said Jordi Floreta, vice president and managing director of TEAM Ports & Maritime. TEAM is the current supplier of three passenger boarding bridges for the new Singapore Cruise Centre.

Costa Crociere S.p.A. announced today at the closing session of Cruise Shipping Asia that it has established the cruise industry's first wholly owned foreign enterprise in China. The new company will be located in Shanghai, Costa's home port city in China, offering commercial and financial services such as marketing, ticketing and collection to local travel partners and passengers.

Cruise-industry suppliers exhibiting at Cruise Shipping Asia include Singapore Cruise Centre Asia Cruise Services Network, TEAM ports & maritime, Intercruises Shoreside and Port Services, Sembawang Shipyard, and Inflot Worldwide. A complete list of participating companies and organizations is available at

Regent Seven Seas’ third quarter net profit falls to $19.5 million

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Top Headlines

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the luxury cruise operator in the Prestige Cruise Holdings group, has reported a fall in third quarter net profit of $19.5 million from $27.0 million in the same period last year. However, the company less capacity in the latest quarter due to dry docking of a vessel, it said in a statement.

Commenting on the third quarter, the Company’s Chairman and CEO, Frank Del Rio, stated, “Regent’s luxury cruise experience continues to be very well received by both our guests and travel agency partners. We are thrilled with the record occupancy and yields we were able to obtain in the third quarter.”

“The Seven Seas Voyager’s drydock in September completes the ambitious $100 million plus upgrade program that we embarked upon nearly four years ago, and we believe the results are impressive. We continue to invest in our luxury fleet to provide our guests with the best possible vacation experience," he continued.

“Net Yield for the third quarter of 2011 was up 3.9%driven by higher pricing with Net Per Diem up 3.0% and occupancy increasing 0.8 percentage points. In the third quarter of 2011, we had a 6.8 percent reduction in capacity caused by a 17-day scheduled drydock for Seven Seas Voyager. There were no drydocks in the third quarter of 2010,” the company said.

Adjusted EBITDA was $40.6 million on revenue of $151.3 million for the third quarter of 2011, compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $47.5 million on revenue of $152.1 million for the third quarter of 2010.

Other key operating metrics for the third quarter of 2011 compared to the prior year are as follows:

Net Cruise Cost, excluding Fuel and Other expense, per APCD decreased 1.7%, to $278 in 2011 compared to $283 in 2010, mainly due to decreases in repair and maintenance expense and selling and administrative expense. Fuel expense increased 44.7%, or $3.0 million, reflecting higher prices. 

“Our economic hedging strategy was able to partially offset this increase, as we recognized a $1.3 million cash benefit on executed fuel hedge contracts during the quarter that offset 42.8% of the price increase. The realised gain of fuel derivatives was recorded in other income (expense) as these instruments do not qualify for hedge accounting.

Other expense was up $5.0 million primarily attributable to a 17-day scheduled drydock for the Seven Seas Voyager in 2011. There were no drydocks in the third quarter of 2010.