Lindblad Expeditions has plans to add three new ships to the fleet by 2019. // © 2015 Lindblad Expeditions
Feature image (above): Although there are no concrete plans yet, Lindblad may introduce land tours in the future, according to president and CEO Sven-Olof Lindblad. // © 2015 Lindblad Expeditions
Lindblad Expeditions Holdings’ move to go public earlier this year is being translated into careful but dynamic growth, fueled by financial resources that open up a number of exciting options.
Lindblad Expeditions currently has orders for two new ships to be built, with expected delivery in 2017 and 2018, as well as plans to add a blue-water ship with ice-breaking capability in 2019. And there is still more to come.
“We have significant available liquidity beyond the planned investment in the expansion of our fleet," said Sven-Olof Lindblad, president and CEO of Lindblad Expeditions.
He says the company has received authorization for a $20 million buyback.
“If we do it, it would be immediately disposed; we would only do it if it seemed strategically viable,” he said.
Dane Capital Management, a private investment management company that focuses on value and special situations investments, is very bullish on Lindblad. In a report released in Seeking Alpha, a crowdsourced content service for financial markets, Dane Capital Management points out that Lindblad's balance sheet provides the opportunity for not just the buyback and new ships, but also for bolt-on acquisitions.
“We do have a lot of excess capital,” Lindblad said. “We would contemplate any company we thought would be strategically valuable, and we have a whole team evaluating possibilities.”
He isn’t ruling out land-based operations, either. Before 9/11, the company had a sizable land tour component. Lindblad says the decision to jettison that side of the business was fortuitous, because it created a focus on cruising that put the company in its excellent present position.
“That doesn’t mean we don’t have an audience that would like to have that product from us,” Lindblad said. “We have a sizeable repeat customer base, and they are really, really omnivorous — they sail with us, but they also want to do things like go on a safari. And they are doing these things, but with other people. We would like to do more than we are doing, and we will, but we aren’t pushed to do it tomorrow. We must do it responsibly; anything new must be assimilated without loss of quality. We cannot falter from that. It took a long time building up our reputation, and it could be destroyed very quickly.”