Royal Caribbean cancels 18 cruises, warns coronavirus hit to yearly profit

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Men watch the cruise ship MS Empress of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean International, as it leaves the bay of Havana

(Reuters) - Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd <RCL.N> on Thursday said it had canceled 18 cruises in Southeast Asia and joined larger rival Carnival Corp <CCL.N> in warning that its full-year earnings would be hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The epidemic, which originated in China's Hubei province and has killed more than 1,300 people, has taken a toll on cruise operators as travel restriction and fear of the virus spreading have led to cancellations of trips to the Far East.

Last week, Royal Caribbean said it canceled eight cruises out of China through March 4 and warned of a 25 cent impact to its first quarter earnings.

The company said the 18 canceled cruises would cut its full-year earnings per share by 65 cents, warning that cancelling all its remaining sailings in Asia through the end of April, would reduce its earnings per share by another 55 cents in 2020.

Royal Caribbean had previously forecast 2020 adjusted earnings of $10.40 to $10.70 per share, which did not include the impact of the virus.

Shares of company were down 1.4% at $112 in extended trade, dragging peers Carnival Corp <CCL.N> and Norwegian Cruise Line <NCLH.N> lower.

Earlier this week, Carnival which also suspended cruise operations at ports in China, said it expects a 55 cents to 65 cents per share impact on its 2020 earnings, if it was forced to suspend operation in the rest of Asia.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi)