Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. reported a second-quarter loss of $39.7 million mostly tied to the coronavirus pandemic but said it has “substantial advanced bookings” for 2021. The loss compares to a $1 million profit for the same period last year.
“These past five months have been really tough on so many fronts,” Sven-Olof Lindblad, CEO of the New York-based public company, said during Monday’s earnings call. “We have taken a financial hit and we have had to furlough our employees and reduce salaries of loyal team members who worked to build this company over the last 40 years.”
They have the resources “to weather this into next year, if necessary” he said, speaking from French Polynesia which recently opened to U.S. visitors. “Travel and tourism is not going away.”
The small, overnight passenger vessel operator is using $10 million to $15 million a month while its vessels are laid up and said it is evaluating several additional ways to enhance liquidity including public and private financing through equity or debt. Crew members have returned home.
Four of the nine vessels in the Lindblad-owned fleet are U.S. flag, and Lindblad said Alaska is out for this season. If it’s possible to operate this year, their main destinations are the Galapagos, Antarctica, Baja California and Central America.
Pent-up demand and new demand for expedition cruising will skyrocket, Lindblad said. Bookings for 2021 are 6% ahead of bookings for 2020 at the same point in 2019, and they have had more than $30 million in new bookings since March 1 not counting travel credits from canceled trips.
As of June 30, they had $80.9 million in unrestricted cash and $21.3 million in restricted cash primarily from deposits on future travel from U.S. ports.
The company is confident the small size of their ships, which range from 48 to 148 passengers, and remote itineraries that require little shoreside support will help get them operating again.
The size allows for a “highly controlled environment that includes stringent cleaning protocols” and testing passengers and crew before boarding, the company said.