Havila Voyages strengthens balance sheet with refinancing

Havila Voyages has completed a refinancing of a loan in a move that will secure “stronger liquidity and balance sheet” for the Norwegian cruise line.

It announced the planned refinancing of Series B of the secured bond loan, originally with a par value of €50 million, along with related redemption costs and accrued interest in its Q4 results on Thursday (April 18).

Havila Voyages refinanced this loan through a €56 million loan from Havila Holding AS.

It has also established a revolving credit facility of NOK 200 million (£14.6 million) from Havila Holding, which provides the company with increased financial flexibility to handle seasonal liquidity fluctuations.

In 2022, the Norwegian cruise line went to court in London in a payment dispute with subsidiaries of Russian leasing company GTLK over two ships, which were being completed at the Tersan shipyard in Turkey.

GTLK was one of the Russian firms being sanctioned in Europe because of the war in Ukraine.

The High Court ruling in its favour meant it was able to take delivery of Havila Polaris and Havila Pollux (pictured in Bergen).

The deliveries were further delayed in 2023 by licensing issues and the earthquake in Turkey.

More: Havila Voyages finally receives Havila Polaris and Havila Pollux

Bent Martini, chief executive, said: “We have considered various alternatives within the constraints we had in the loan agreement for the remaining secured bond, and overall we believe this is the best solution for us.”

Series A of Havila Voyages’ secured bond loan has a par value of €255 million and was issued in July 2023 in connection with the delivery of Havila Polaris and Havila Pollux.

Martini added: “With this solution, we ensure stronger liquidity and balance for Havila Voyages.

“Now we can focus on optimising the operation of our four new coastal route ships and delivering on the operational goals we have set ourselves.

“Over time, this will also enable more long-term and sustainable financing that better reflects the solid underlying ship values and the good earning opportunities we have from operating ships along the Norwegian coast.

“There is no doubt that the bond loan is expensive for us, but with the challenges we faced with the original lender and the sanctions they were under, this was the only solution in the late summer of last year.

“The goal has always been to find solutions with lower costs, and this is a step further.”

Havila Voyages also reported that the “positive development in bookings” continues. Occupancy for the first quarter of 2024 ended at 68%, up from 60% in the fourth quarter of 2023.

In total, 63% of capacity is now booked for the year, and an average occupancy rate of just under 80% is expected for 2024 as a whole.

Martini added: “For a new company on a well-established route, we are very satisfied with our booking figures.

“We are getting positive feedback from previous guests. We see more people coming back to us and the awareness of us in the markets is growing. We are optimistic about the time ahead.”

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