Hurtigruten happier

Hurtigruten cut its losses in the traditionally weak first quarter as it brought in higher revenues, and ongoing efficiency measures took effect.

The Norwegian ferry and cruiseship operator reduced its pre-tax loss to NOK 110m ($18.5m) for the first three months of 2014, down from NOK 133m in the same period a year ago, and said prospects are good for further improvements in its results this year.

Ebitda rose by NOK 24m to NOK 42m as operating revenues increased to NOK 751 m from NOK 707m. The improvements were due to its MS Fram cruiseship and Spitsbergen travel businesses gaining more customers and higher revenues per cruise night.

The company’s main business area remains its Norwegian coastal operation where operating revenues remained largely flat at NOK 601m as capacity utilisation was 53% during the cyclically weak first quarter period.

“Good progress with presales for the rest of 2014 in the Norwegian coast, MS Fram and Spitsbergen product areas means that the board is confident that the company’s increased commercial focus and expanded marketing commitment in both the US and the Nordic region will contribute to a more profitable 2014 and a significant improvement in results compared with 2013,” Hurtigruten forecast.

Hurtigruten made an overall gain of NOK 1m on efficiency measures which included the sale of its two remaining fast ferries.

However, consolidated operating expenses before depreciation and impairment rose to NOK 709m, from NOK 689m, reflecting higher sales and marketing-related costs related to the higher revenues.

Net financial expenses fell to NOK 54m, from NOK 64m, as interest charges were reduced from the redemption of NOK 393m in debt.


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