Lorne Steinberg discusses Carnival and Norwegian Cruise
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. secured a US$400 million investment from private equity firm L Catterton, but it also told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that the disruption from the coronavirus pandemic means the travel company might not survive.
L Catterton is making the infusion into Norwegian’s NCL Corp. unit through a private placement of exchangeable senior notes due in 2026, NCL said in a statement Tuesday. The private equity firm will receive a board seat and a board observer.
In a filing Tuesday, Norwegian updated a previous filing to reflect management’s “substantial doubt” in the cruise company’s ability to remain a going concern.
The company also said it would delay its first-quarter earnings report, known as a 10-Q. But preliminary earnings also published Tuesday showed the company expects a first-quarter net loss of as much as US$1.93 billion.
Norwegian shares plunged as much as 24 per cent to US$11.03 in New York trading Tuesday. They were down 75 per cent this year through Monday’s close.
In a separate section of its filing Tuesday, Norwegian said it has been cooperating with investigations into its marketing practices during the outbreak. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody had previously announced such an investigation, but the company said it has received notifications from “other attorneys general” as well. A Miami New Times report in March cited leaked emails showing some members of Norwegian’s sales team had been instructed to use false and misleading talking points about the coronavirus to sell cruises.
The L Catterton investment is part of Norwegian’s efforts to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from bond and stock investors, to give it a lifeline. It’s marketing stock, bonds and convertible bonds this week.
Like Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Carnival Corp., Norwegian stopped sailing in mid-March after a series of Covid-19 outbreaks raised questions about the safety of the industry.
Factors including the incomplete plan to raise additional financing “have raised substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern, as the company does not have sufficient liquidity to meet its obligations over the next 12 months, assuming no additional financing or other proactive measures,” Norwegian said in the filing.