Thursday 13 August 2015

Two Newbuilds planned for Lindblad



by Theresa Norton Masek

Lindblad Expeditions Inc. plans to place orders for two small coastal vessels in the third quarter with delivery expected in 2017 and 2018.

“These new vessels, which will be 100-passenger, U.S.-flagged ships, will allow us to capitalize on the strong demand for our expeditions with routes similar to existing ones where demand is in excess of our capacity,” President and CEO Sven-Olof Lindblad said. “We are also reviewing a variety of acquisition opportunities that we believe would be accretive to our planned expansion. Given our strong capital position and the fragmented nature of our industry, we are well positioned to act as a platform to facilitate consolidation.”

The news was disclosed in a press release announcing second-quarter results for the company, which became public in July upon completing a merger with Capitol Acquisition Corp. II. Capitol changed its name to Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. and now trades on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the new symbols LIND and LINDW.
Sven-Olof Lindblad

Lindblad said adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter was $12 million, a 9.1 percent increase from $11 million in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $26.3 million for the first half of 2015, a 4.8 percent increase over the same period last year.

Sven-Olof Lindblad said the 9.1 percent increase was achieved despite a “slight decrease” in ticket revenues due to softer demand for Africa and Indian Ocean voyages.

“During the summer of 2016, the Orion will be redeployed to Europe as part of our already planned integration of the Orion acquisition into our fleet,” he said. Lindblad bought Orion Expedition Cruises in March 2013 and integrated the ship into its fleet a year later.

Ian Rogers, Lindblad’s CFO and COO, said bookings for 2016 are slightly ahead of where they were at this time last year.

“Although it is too early to provide a detailed picture for 2016, bookings remain strong with 43 percent of ticket revenue for the 2016 financial year on the books, as at June 30, 2015, compared with 40 percent in 2014 for the 2015 financial year,” he said.

Lindblad also announced it appointed Bernard W. Aronson as an independent director. The founding partner of ACON Investments LLC, a middle-market private equity group, Aronson previously served as a director of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. from 1993 until 2015.

He also serves as the U.S. Special Envoy to the Colombian Peace Process, serves or has served during the past five years as a director of Kate Spade Inc., Hyatt Hotels Corp., Chroma Oil and Gas LP, Sequitur Energy, ACON Franchise Holdings, Mariner Energy and Northern Tier Energy. He serves on several non-profit boards including The Nature Conservancy Maryland/D.C. chapter, The Amazon Conservation Team, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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