RCCL hit by Pullmantur charge

By Tom Stieghorst
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said it earned $432.2 million in 2012, down from $607.4 million in 2011.

In the fourth quarter, Royal Caribbean's earnings were $21 million, down from $36.6 million a year earlier.

Both figures were before a fourth-quarter impairment charge of $413.9 million related to the company's Pullmantur brand in Spain.

In explaining the write-down, Royal Caribbean said: "While the 2013 wave season is broadly off to a promising start, booking volumes and pricing are down substantially in Spain, due to the impact of additional austerity measures there, the lingering impact of the Costa Concordia tragedy and other factors."

Royal Caribbean said it had previously warned about the risks related to Pullmantur and the Spanish economy.

The company projected it would earn $500-545 million in 2013. It said when adjusted for the fall-off in bookings last year because of the Costa Concordia incident, it considers the wave season to be off to a strong start.

"Booking volumes are exceeding those during the same period in 2011 and in the aggregate, forward-booked load factors and pricing are higher than at this time in both 2011 and 2012."

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.
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