Profits up at Carnival on strong demand

Profits up at Carnival on strong demand

A brisk summer season has allowed Carnival Corporation to boost prices and led to a 22 per cent increase in third-quarter net income.

The Miami-based cruise line reported net income of $1.3 billion for the quarter ended August 31st, or $1.62 diluted EPS, on revenues of $4.4 billion.

Net income for the third quarter of 2009 was significantly lower at $1.1 billion, or $1.33 diluted EPS, on revenues of $4.1 billion.

Carnival also raised its fiscal forecast for 2010.

Full-year earnings will now be $2.48 to $2.52 a share the cruise line said, up from a previously expected range of $2.25 to $2.35.

The company reported 2009 earnings of $2.24 a share.

During the quarter net revenue yields rose 6.2 per cent excluding currency fluctuations, slightly above expectations.

North American brands were up more than ten per cent on that basis from weak 2009 levels.

At Carnival’s European brands, yields rose one per cent amid an eight per cent expansion in capacity.

Carnival operates Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and its namesake Carnival Cruise Lines in the United States, whiles its European portfolio includes AIDA Cruises, Cunard Line and Costa Cruises.

Carnival chief executive Micky Arison cited “robust demand” as a key factor in the results

Strong Demand

“Despite ongoing economic concerns, cruise ticket prices remained strong close to sailing rewarding consumers that booked early,” chief executive Micky Arison said in the statement.

“We enjoyed robust demand across all products during our seasonally strong summer period.”

Carnival confirmed booking volumes for the rest of 2010 and the first half of 2011 are ahead of 2009 at prices similar to a year ago.

Lower than expected fuel prices have also aided Carnival.

While prices rose 17 per cent to $473 per metric ton, they still came in lower than the $493 per metric ton that Carnival forecast in June this year.

“Consumers continue to embrace vacations as a much-needed escape from the rigors of daily life, while cruising remains an increasingly attractive option for those seeking greater value for their vacation dollar,” Mr Arison added.

Following the release of the results, Carnival stood 3.1 per cent higher at $38.20 on the New York Stock Exchange, after reaching $38.92, the highest intraday price since May 13th.