Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Bliss pulls out of Juneau’s downtown harbor in this June 12, 2018 photo. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission the company said it was struggling financially and considering bankruptcy. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Bliss pulls out of Juneau’s downtown harbor in this June 12, 2018 photo. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission the company said it was struggling financially and considering bankruptcy. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Uncertain financial picture not expected to stop cruise line’s waterfront purchase

Norwegian Cruise Lines weighs bankruptcy as cash flows dry up

Shortly after the initial publication of this article, Norwegian Cruise Line responded to the Empire’s requests for comments. This article has been updated to reflect the change.

Norwegian Cruise Line warned investors it could go out of business without additional sources of cash, but its purchase of Juneau waterfront property is still expected to be completed in 2020.

In a May 5, filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission the company told investors “as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, our financial statements contain a statement regarding a substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

In September, Norwegian bid $20 million to purchase a 3-acre lot off Egan Drive in downtown Juneau with the intention of constructing a new dock. To date, the company has paid $15 million for the waterfront property to its previous owner, the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority, according to AMHTA chief communications officer, Allison Biastock.

“(NCL) has been communicating that they expect to close the deal with complete payment later this calendar year,” Biastock said in an email, adding the company had been in touch since the outbreak of COVID-19.

[Norwegian VP promises to build for the community]

In its filing, the company said it was looking at loans and other ways to stay afloat, but under the current circumstances, the conditions of many loans were not “favorable” to the company and may cause shares to lose value. The terms of federal relief may be too constrictive as well, the company said.

“If any government agrees to provide disaster relief assistance,” the company stated, “it may impose certain requirements on the recipients of the relief including restrictions on executive officer compensation, share buybacks, dividends, prepayment of debt and other similar restrictions…such restrictions and terms could adversely impact our business and operations.”

On Wednesday the company was able to secure $3.5 billion in funding through “a series of capital market transactions, led by Goldman Sachs,” it announced in a press release.

In a message sent to the Empire, Howard Sherman, executive vice president of onboard revenue and destination services for Norwegian, said the company was in a strong position.

“We had a very successful capital raise and are now sitting on $3.5B in liquidity,” Sherman said. “We are currently in a very strong cash position.”

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at psegall@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnoEmpire.

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