Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL), the world's number two cruise group, said on Thursday that profits rose 16 percent to a record in 2000 but predicted stiff competition in 2001. RCCL shares dipped 13.5 Norwegian crowns ($1.50) to 239.5 on the Oslo bourse after trading around 250 just before the results, which were slightly below analysts' forecasts. The group said earnings per share rose to $2.31 in 2000 from $2.06 in 1999, or net earnings of $445 million from $384 million.
But fourth quarter earnings
per share fell to $0.16 from $0.19 on net earnings of $38 million versus $30 million. Revenues for the fourth quarter were up to $642 million from $584 million. The EPS for the full year
was just below expectations in a Barra survey of 20.87 Norwegian crowns ($2.32) for 2000. One analyst said revenues were also lower than forecast. "Our core products continue to perform well, allowing us to introduce new itineraries
and develop new markets for future growth," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.