Royal Caribbean Shares Jump to Record on Forecast

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the world’s second-largest cruise operator, surged to an all-time high after boosting its 2014 profit forecast amid higher bookings.

The shares jumped 7.7 percent to a record closing high of $60.56 in New York. Royal Caribbean has gained 28 percent this year.

Earnings per share for 2014 will increase to $3.40 to $3.50, the Miami-based company said today in a statement. That’s up from a previous projection of $3.25 to $3.45, and compares with the $3.39 average of analysts’ estimates.

Higher pricing and demand in Europe helped Royal Caribbean’s results in the second quarter, Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty said. Adjusted earnings per share in the period totaled 66 cents, beating the 53-cent average of analysts’ estimates. Revenue rose 5.2 percent to $1.98 billion.

Royal Caribbean also announced a plan today called the Double-Double Program, which aims to double 2014 earnings per share by 2017 and bring the company’s return on capital to “double-digit” percentages.

“We have the opportunity to drive our profitability up,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Fain said in a telephone interview. “New capacity helps, but it’s mostly revenue improvement.”

Cruise pricing in the Caribbean is stabilizing after a 13 percent increase in capacity as carriers moved ships to that region from Europe, Fain said.

“Next year we’re seeing a dramatically better supply-demand situation,” he said.

Royal Caribbean also said it plans to begin adding more high-speed Internet capacity to its ships in coming months, a move Fain said will appeal particularly to younger customers and lead to increases in passengers and pricing.

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