March 21, 2002
Carnival earnings beat expectations
Cruise giant Carnival Corporation reports net income of $129.6 million on revenues of $905.8 million for its first quarter ended February 28, 2002, compared to net income of $128.0 million on revenues of $1.0 billion for the same quarter in 2001.
Carnival Chairman and CEO Micky Arison said he was particularly pleased with the company's first quarter earnings performance, despite the adverse impact of the events of September 11. `
"In the two months following September 11, our advance bookings for 2002 cruises dropped dramatically because of the significant slowdown in travel. The subsequent recovery in our booking levels has greatly exceeded earlier expectations and demonstrates the resiliency of the cruise vacation business," he said.
Revenues for the first quarter of 2002 were down 10 percent compared to the same quarter in 2001. This was primarily caused by the impact of the September 11 events, which resulted in a significant reduction in the number of guests purchasing air travel and also lower cruise ticket prices and occupancies. These reductions were partially offset by a 2.3 percent increase in cruise capacity. As a result of lower ticket prices and occupancies, net revenue yields (net revenue per available berth day) were down 7.5 percent compared to the first quarter of last year.
Arison called this "a significant improvement over our November expectations that first quarter net revenue yields would be down 15 percent.''
Partially offsetting the lower revenues in 2002 was a 7.2 percent reduction in the company's cost per available berth day. First quarter 2002 results also did not include any losses from the company's investment in Airtours plc, which was sold in June 2001.
Looking to the remainder of 2002, Arison says he's is very encouraged that recent booking levels have been running well ahead of last year. Prices on those bookings have also recovered significantly from the highly discounted levels late last year, although they are still less than prices during the comparable period last year.
Primarily as a result of the dramatic slowdown in 2002 bookings last fall and the shift to closer to sailing booking patterns after September 11, cumulative advance bookings and average prices for the remainder of 2002 are still below last year's levels.
"If the current trend of booking levels continues, we anticipate that net revenue yields will continue to improve throughout 2002," Arison said. "Our current expectation for net revenue yields for the balance of 2002 is for the second and third quarters to be down approximately 4 percent to 6 percent and the fourth quarter to increase slightly compared to last year.''
Discussing the company's global cruise strategy, Arison commented that Carnival "is continuing to execute its plan to increase its presence in the high-growth European vacation market." Costa Cruises will introduce the Costa Europa, formerly Holland America's Westerdam, to its European fleet in April 2002, and this month Costa will launch a new cruise product onboard the 760-passenger Costa Marina targeted at German-speaking vacationers. Also, in May 2002, Cunard's Caronia will begin offering ervice from its new homeport in Southampton, England.
Carnival is also continuing to expand in North America. Carnival Cruise Lines launched the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride from Port Canaveral, Fla., in January 2002 and is scheduled to introduce the 2,124-passenger Carnival Legend in August 2002, offering the line's first-ever sailings from Europe. Following its European program, the Carnival Legend will operate from several American ports starting September 2002. Carnival Cruise Lines is expected to launch the 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest in November 2002 from New Orleans. Additionally, the company's Holland America Line brand will begin operating the Prinsendam, formerly the Seabourn Sun, from Europe, Asia and the Pacific in June 2002, and is also scheduled to introduce the 1,848-passenger Zuiderdam in December 2002 from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Carnival says it "continues to work closely with regulators in the U.S. and Europe on its offer" for P&O Princess Cruises.