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Published: Friday, 4/20/2012

Royal Caribbean posts lower profit, cuts forecast


MIAMI -- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, the world’s second-largest cruise operator, reported a lower first-quarter profit and cut its full-year forecast, citing higher fuel costs and the bargains it has had to offer to make up for a slowdown in bookings.

Royal Caribbean, whose lines include its namesake and Celebrity Cruises, said on Friday it now expects 2012 earnings per share of $1.80 to $2.10, compared with an earlier forecast of $1.90 to $2.30.

Royal Caribbean, which has faced slower business after the Costa Concordia shipwreck of its larger competitor Carnival Corp & Plc in January, said overall booking volumes since February, when it last gave a forecast, were down by a mid-single-digit percentage. The cruise operator has lowered prices to address that reduction in business.

But the company in a statement said that booking activity is “gradually” improving and that the effects of the Costa Concordia tragedy are “waning.”

Royal Caribbean earned net income of $47 million or 21 cents per share on revenue of $1.83 billion for the first quarter, compared with $78.4 million or 36 cents per share on revenue of $1.67 billion a year earlier.

On Jan. 13, the Costa Concordia, a liner operated by the Costa Cruises unit of rival Carnival, hit a reef just off an Italian island and capsized, killing or hurting dozens.

Royal Caribbean shares were down 2 percent in premarket trading.

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