Analyst Warns: Royal Caribbean Losses Could Triple in 2020 and 2021, Too

As S&P 500 stocks remained generally above water in early afternoon trading Tuesday, shares of Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL) got rocked -- and are down nearly 1% as of 1:40 p.m. EDT -- on an extremely pessimistic analyst note.

Reading from a note posted by Argus Research this morning, reports that the research outfit has roughly tripled its estimate of the losses Royal Caribbean will report this year and next year as well.

Cruise ship faces a gigantic, partially submerged coronavirus.

Image source: Getty Images.

Specifically, Argus has increased its prediction for net losses at Royal Caribbean from $5.40 per share (old estimate) to now $15.10 per share. Moreover, while 2021 will be a bit better, Royal Caribbean will not recover entirely to profitability next year (warns Argus). To the contrary, the analyst raised its forecast loss from $2 a share next year to now $7.10 a share.

Royal Caribbean's ability to earn a profit has been compromised because of the pandemic. Argus believes the cruise line will operate at no more than one-third capacity once cruising resumes later this year. And next year, things still won't be back to normal, with capacity at only 80%.

It should be noted that Argus's estimates are an outlier on Wall Street, where most analysts predict even worse losses in 2020 ($16 per share, pro forma) but a quicker recovery in 2021 (losses of $4.72 per share, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence).

Longer term, Argus agrees that Royal Caribbean will survive the recession and recover, and says that both favorable industry demographics and growing demand in the Asia/Pacific market will help with that recovery. But in the near term at least, it could still be rough sailing for Royal Caribbean investors.

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