Tuesday, November 2, 1999

American Classic
net steams ahead
40 percent

Bookings remain strong
for both the Hawaii and
mainland operations

By Russ Lynch


American Classic Voyages Co. today reported a 40 percent increase in third-quarter earnings, with the company's American Hawaii Cruises and Delta Queen Steamboat Co. units both recording strong business.

Info Box The Chicago-based parent company had a third-quarter profit of $2.1 million compared with $1.5 million in the year-earlier period. Per-share earnings were up by 10 percent at 11 cents, from 10 cents in the 1998 quarter. The smaller percentage increase for per-share earnings resulted from 4 million new shares being issued to the public in the second quarter, increasing the number of shares outstanding by 26 percent to 19.6 million. Third-quarter revenues of $57.5 million were up 13 percent from $50.9 million in the year-earlier quarter.

The company said both its mainland and Hawaii cruise businesses are doing well, with full occupancy in the third quarter and bookings continuing strong.

For the first half of 2000, the SS Independence, American Hawaii Cruises' sole vessel, is already 88 percent booked at an average rate of $224 per passenger per night, said Philip C. Calian, American Classic chief executive officer.

Delta Queen, which operates on rivers in the American heartland, has its vessels 54 percent booked for the first half of next year at an average passenger-night rate of $289, he said.

The company is investing in new ships for mainland coastal waters and is putting nearly $1 billion into its Project America ship-development program for the around-the-island cruises in Hawaii.

American Classic announced last week it will use a new subsidiary with the United States Line name to operate three Project America ships -- a refurbished foreign-built ship, the MS Patriot, to go into service in Hawaiian waters late next year and two 1,900-passenger U.S.-built ships to come to Hawaii in 2003 and 2004. The SS Independence will remain under the American Hawaii Cruises subsidiary and move to a Maui base in November, a few weeks before the Patriot begins service out of Honolulu.

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