Carnival Corporation & plc reports 3Q Earnings

Carnival Corporation & plc reports 3Q Earnings

Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) reported net income of $1.1 billion, or $1.33 diluted EPS, on revenues of $4.1 billion for its third quarter ended August 31, 2009. Net income for the third quarter of 2008 was $1.3 billion, or $1.65 diluted EPS, on revenues of $4.8 billion.

Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO, commenting on third quarter results said, “given the global economic environment earning more than $1 billion this quarter was quite an achievement and is a testament to the power of our global brands. Our net income for the quarter exceeded our previous guidance, as a result of better than expected pricing on close-in bookings worldwide during the seasonally strong summer period.”

Key metrics for the third quarter of 2009 compared to the prior year were as follows:

  * On a constant dollar basis net revenue yields (net revenue per available lower berth day) decreased 12.3 percent for Q3 2009 which was better than our June guidance of down 14 to 16 percent. Net revenue yields in current dollars decreased 16.5 percent due to unfavorable currency exchange rates. Gross revenue yields in current dollars decreased 17.6 percent.
  * Excluding fuel, net cruise costs per available lower berth day (“ALBD”) for Q3 2009 were 0.7 percent lower on a constant dollar basis. Excluding the impact of the $26 million insurance settlement received during the same period last year, net cruise costs per ALBD excluding fuel were 2.4 percent lower on a constant dollar basis.
  * Including fuel, net cruise costs per ALBD decreased 11.4 percent on a constant dollar basis (decreased 14.8 percent in current dollars). Gross cruise costs per ALBD decreased 17.1 percent in current dollars.
  * Fuel price decreased 39 percent to $405 per metric ton for Q3 2009 from $666 per metric ton in Q3 2008 and was in line with the June guidance of $406 per metric ton.

Outlook

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Since June, booking volumes for the remainder of 2009 and the first half of 2010 are running 19 percent ahead of the prior year. Although occupancy levels are catching up with last year they are still slightly behind, with ticket prices for these bookings also at lower levels.

“While the environment for travel remains challenging, we are encouraged by the strength we have had in booking volumes throughout the year. Consumers are responding to the attractive pricing and product offerings our brands have in the marketplace. We have begun to experience an extension in the booking window as consumers realize the best value by booking early. For consumers, the value proposition has never been greater than it is now, so prospective vacationers looking for the best price should act quickly,” said Arison.

Based primarily on the strength in the third quarter, the company now expects full year net revenue yields, on a constant dollar basis, to decrease 10 percent, at the better end of its previous guidance range of down 10 to 12 percent. The company forecasts a 14 percent decline in net revenue yields on a current dollar basis for the full year 2009 compared to 2008 caused by unfavorable movements in currency exchange rates.

The company continues to expect net cruise costs excluding fuel for the full year 2009 to be in line with the prior year on a constant dollar basis. Based on current spot prices for fuel, forecasted fuel costs for the full year have increased $40 million since the previous guidance, costing $0.05 per share. This has been partially offset by favorable movements in currency exchange rates worth $0.03 per share.

Taking all the above factors into consideration, the company now forecasts full year 2009 earnings per share to be in the range of $2.16 to $2.20, compared to its previous guidance range of $2.00 to $2.10.

Fourth Quarter 2009

Fourth quarter constant dollar net revenue yields are expected to decline in the 11 to 13 percent range (down 9 to 11 percent on a current dollar basis). Net cruise costs excluding fuel, for the fourth quarter are expected to be down slightly compared to the prior year on a constant dollar basis.

Based on current fuel prices and currency exchange rates, the company expects earnings for the fourth quarter of 2009 to be in the range of $0.16 to $0.20 per share, down from $0.47 per share in 2008.

In June the company took delivery of Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn’s first newbuild in two decades. Just last week, the company took delivery of Carnival Cruise Lines’ new flagship, the 3,652-passenger Carnival Dream, the lines’ largest ship ever. Both are achieving significant premiums above other vessels in their respective brands.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, The Yachts of Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ibero Cruises, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.

Together, these brands operate 93 ships totaling more than 180,000 lower berths with 12 new ships scheduled to be delivered between January 2010 and May 2012. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Tours and Princess Tours, the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

Cautionary Note Concerning Factors That May Affect Future Results

Some of the statements, estimates or projections contained in this earnings release are “forward-looking statements” that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions with respect to Carnival Corporation & plc, including some statements concerning future results, outlooks, plans, goals and other events which have not yet occurred. These statements are intended to qualify for the safe harbors from liability provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. We have tried, whenever possible, to identify these statements by using words like “will,” “may,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “forecast,” “future,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate” and similar expressions of future intent or the negative of such terms. Because forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are many factors that could cause Carnival Corporation & plc’s actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied in this earnings release. Forward-looking statements include those statements which may impact, among other things, the forecasting of Carnival Corporation and plc’s earnings per share, net revenue yields, booking levels, pricing, occupancy, operating, financing and/or tax costs, fuel expenses, costs per available lower berth day, estimates of ship depreciable lives and residual values, liquidity, goodwill and trademark fair values, outlook or business prospects. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following: general economic and business conditions, including fuel price increases, high unemployment rates, and declines in the securities, real estate and other markets, and perceptions of these conditions may adversely impact the levels of Carnival Corporation & plc’s potential vacationers’ discretionary income and net worth and this group’s confidence in their country’s economy; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, particularly the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against the euro and sterling; the international political climate, armed conflicts, terrorist and pirate attacks and threats thereof, and other world events affecting the safety and security of travel; conditions in the cruise and land-based vacation industries, including competition from other cruise ship operators and providers of other vacation alternatives and overcapacity offered by cruise ship and land-based vacation alternatives; accidents, the spread of contagious diseases, adverse weather conditions or natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, and other incidents (including, but not limited to, ship fires and machinery and equipment failures or improper operation thereof), which could cause, among other things, individual or multiple port closures, injury, death, alteration of cruise itineraries or cancellation of a cruise or series of cruises or tours; adverse publicity concerning the cruise industry in general, or Carnival Corporation & plc in particular; lack of acceptance of new itineraries, products and services by Carnival Corporation & plc’s guests; changing consumer preferences; changes in and compliance with laws and regulations relating to employment, environmental, health, safety, security, tax and other regulatory regimes under which Carnival Corporation & plc operate; increases in global fuel demand and pricing, fuel supply disruptions and/or other events on Carnival Corporation & plc fuel and other expenses, liquidity and credit ratings; increases in Carnival Corporation plc’s future fuel expenses from implementing approved International Maritime Organization regulations, which require the use of higher priced low sulfur fuels in certain cruising areas, including the proposed establishment of a U.S./ Canadian Emissions Control Area (“ECA”), which will, if established, significantly affect the quality and price of fuel that ships will be required to burn within this ECA; changes in financing and operating costs, including changes in interest rates and food, insurance, payroll and security costs; the ability of Carnival Corporation & plc to implement its shipbuilding programs and ship maintenance, repairs and refurbishments, including ordering additional ships for its cruise brands from European shipyards, on terms that are favorable or consistent with Carnival Corporation & plc’s expectations; Carnival Corporation & plc’s ability to implement its brand strategies and to continue to operate and expand its business internationally; whether Carnival Corporation & plc’s future operating cash flow will be sufficient to fund future obligations and whether it will be able to obtain financing, if necessary, in sufficient amounts and on terms that are favorable or consistent with its expectations; Carnival Corporation & plc’s ability to attract and retain qualified shipboard crew and maintain good relations with employee unions; continuing financial viability of Carnival Corporation & plc’s travel agent distribution system, air service providers and cruise shipyards and their subcontractors; availability and pricing of air travel services, especially as a result of significant increases in air travel costs; changes in the global credit markets on Carnival Corporation & plc’s counterparty risks, including those associated with its cash equivalents, committed financing facilities, contingent obligations, derivative instruments, insurance contracts and new ship progress payment guarantees; Carnival Corporation & plc’s decisions to self-insure against various risks or its inability to obtain insurance for certain risks at reasonable rates; disruptions and other damages to Carnival Corporation & plc’s information technology networks; lack of continuing availability of attractive, convenient and safe port destinations; and risks associated with the dual listed company structure, including the uncertainty of its tax status. Forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as a prediction of actual results. Subject to any continuing obligations under applicable law or any relevant listing rules, Carnival Corporation & plc expressly disclaim any obligation to disseminate, after the date of this release, any updates or revisions to any such forward-looking statements to reflect any change in expectations or events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements are based.