NCL's Norwegian Breakaway. Image: Norwegian Cruise Line

NCL’s Norwegian Breakaway. Image: Norwegian Cruise Line

By Lee Spears

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., whose owners include Apollo Global Management LLC, raised $447 million in an initial public offering, pricing the shares above the marketed range.

The Miami-based company sold 23.5 million shares, a 12 percent stake, for $19 each, according to a statement yesterday, after offering them for $16 to $18 apiece. That gives Norwegian an enterprise value of $6.4 billion, or about 12 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the 12 months through September, the data show.

Buyers of Norwegian’s IPO are betting that the operator will benefit by using proceeds from the sale to reduce borrowings. The company sought a valuation that’s in line with peers even as it carried almost double the debt relative to earnings as its largest rival, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Norwegian planned to use the IPO to reduce total debt to $2.6 billion, or about 4.9 times trailing 12-month Ebitda of $539 million, according to regulatory filings and data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with 2.7 times for Carnival Corp., the biggest cruise operator, as of Jan. 16, the day before the offering.

Norwegian’s enterprise value-to-Ebitda ratio at the IPO price compares with 10 times Ebitda for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and 12 times for Carnival, the data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The shares begin trading today, listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol NCLH. UBS AG and Barclays Plc led the offering.

Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.
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