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Norwegian Cruise’s Stock Rises as It Details Half a Billion in Spending Cuts

By Rhian Hunt - Apr 27, 2020 at 2:05PM

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The company is cutting capital expenditures to the bone.

Preparing itself for ongoing economic squalls from the COVID-19 pandemic, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH 1.89%) issued a business update today in which it described plans to slash expenditures by $515 million, along with other significant data. So far, traders are bidding the stock up today, with gains of slightly more than 9%.

The centerpiece of Norwegian's business update is the COVID-19 Action Plan. The update lists various ways the cruise line is cutting operating expenses, including slashing marketing outlays, temporarily suspending 401(k) contributions, freezing new hires, and trimming work hours so that "shoreside" employees take a 20% salary cut.

A cruise ship on a calm ocean.

Image source: Getty Images.

The company also says it's switching most of its vessels over to "cold layup." This state makes it a lengthier process to get cruise ships back into action, but greatly reduces the cost of maintaining them in the meantime.

Norwegian also plans to pare capital expenditures sharply, by $515 million during the rest of 2020. The company will save $170 million by postponing completion of new ship construction until March 31, 2021, thus delaying payments for these projects until April 2021. The other $345 million in savings will come from shrinking other capital expenditures not related to "newbuild" by 70%.

With social distancing and coronavirus lockdowns in place, most cruise lines have postponed new cruises until June 30 at the earliest. Norwegian recently drew down $1.55 billion in revolving credit and is burning cash at a rate of roughly $110 million to $150 million monthly during the sailing hiatus. It also withdrew its 2020 guidance and expects a net loss for 2020, but notes it has $1.8 billion worth of future cruises currently booked.

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