An order for a 141,000 gross ton cruise
liner that P&O Cruises, which is part of the Carnival Corp & plc group,
placed in June with Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilder includes an option for
a second ship, Fincantieri said in a statement.
P&O Cruises, which on 1 June unveiled
the news that it had ordered its largest ship so far, did not mention anything
about an option for a second ship. However, most shipbuilding contracts do
include one or more options for further vessels.
P&O Cruises have not so far either
taken up or axed the option. The ship ordered in June will be delivered in 2015 and it
will be a sister vessel to two similar sized vessels the Italian yard is
building for P&O Cruises’ sister company Princess Cruises.
Shares in the two listed holding companies of Carnival Corp & plc, the world’s largest cruise shipping group, rose
about 2% after the company had unveiled its better than anticipated third
Carnival plc shares riose 2.3% to £20.30 in
London, outpacing a 0.79% rise of the FTSE 100 share index of leading shares at
3.20pm local time.
In New York, Carnival Corporation rose
1.83% to $32.84, markedly more than the 0.13% rise of the Dow Jones 500 leading
Carnival Corp & plc, the world’s
largest cruise shipping group, now forecasts full year 2011 fully diluted
earnings per share (EPS) to be in the range of $2.40 to $2.44, compared to 2010
earnings of $2.47 per share. In its second quarter report on 21 June,
the company forecast EPS in the range of $2.40 to $2.50.
The company says that at this time,
cumulative advance bookings for the remainder of 2011 and the first half of
2012 are at higher prices with slightly lower occupancies compared to the prior
year. Since June, booking volumes for the remainder of the year and the first
half of 2012 have run ahead of the prior year at slightly higher prices.
Micky Arison, Chairman and CEO noted:
"Despite the uncertain economic environment, we have a strong base of
business for the first half of 2012, and booking trends during the third
quarter have been solid. The increased level of importance consumers are
placing on value continues to drive demand for our cruise products."
Arison also noted the company recently
repurchased 14.5 million shares of Carnival Corporation & plc stock at a
total investment of $445 million. "The current share repurchase program
demonstrates our confidence in the earnings power of our global cruise brands.
Reduced capital commitments due to the slower pace of our shipbuilding program,
along with our strong balance sheet and solid investment grade credit ratings,
leave us well positioned to opportunistically return cash to
shareholders," Arison stated.
The company continues to expect full year
net revenue yields, on a constant dollar basis, to increase 2.0 percent, in
line with its June guidance, up 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Net revenue yields on a
current dollar basis are expected to increase 4.0 percent for the full year
2011 compared to 2010.
The company expects net cruise costs
excluding fuel per ALBD for the full year 2011 to be up 1.0 percent on a
constant dollar basis, at the higher end of its June guidance range, flat to up
1.0 percent, primarily due to the charge related to the sale of Costa Marina.
In addition, changes in fuel prices and
currency exchange rates are expected to reduce full year 2011 earnings by $0.06
per share compared to the company's June guidance. Based on the current spot
prices for fuel, fuel costs for the full year 2011 are now expected to increase
$542 million compared to 2010, costing an additional $0.69 per share.
Carnival Corporation & plc reported net
income of $1.3 billion, or $1.69 diluted EPS, on revenues of $5.1 billion for
its third quarter ended August 31, 2011. Net income for the third quarter of
2010 was $1.3 billion, or $1.62 diluted EPS, on revenues of $4.5 billion.
Analysts had on average forecast EPS of $1.62.
Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and
CEO Micky Arison noted that earnings were better than anticipated in the
company's June guidance due to the combination of higher than expected revenue
yields and lower than expected costs in the third quarter.
Commenting on the third quarter, Arison
said, "Cruise ticket prices for our peak summer season remained strong
close to sailing driving a 2.6 percent yield improvement (constant dollars).
Our North American brands performed well, achieving an almost six percent yield
increase, while our European, Australian and Asian brand yields fell two
percent (constant dollars) due primarily to the geo-political unrest in the
Middle East and North Africa. Higher revenue yields helped offset a 45 percent
increase in fuel prices, leading to improved quarterly profits."
Key metrics for the third quarter 2011
compared to the prior year were as follows: Third quarter results included a charge of
$0.02 per share related to the sale of Costa Marina, which was not anticipated
in the company's June guidance.
On a constant dollar basis net revenue
yields (net revenue per available lower berth day-"ALBD") increased
2.6 percent for 3Q 2011, which was better than the company's June guidance, up
1.0 to 2.0 percent. Net revenue yields in current dollars increased 7.2 percent
due, in part, to favorable currency exchange rates. Gross revenue yields
increased 6.8 percent in current dollars.
Net cruise costs excluding the Costa Marina
charge and fuel per ALBD increased 1.9 percent in constant dollars, and was
better than June guidance, up 2.5 to 3.5 percent, partly due to the timing of
expenses. Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD in current dollars
increased 11.7 percent.
Fuel prices increased 45 percent to $686
per metric ton for 3Q 2011 from $473 per metric ton in 3Q 2010 and was higher
than June guidance of $670 per metric ton.
Continuing with its strategic growth
initiatives, during the third quarter the company announced it had reached
agreements for the construction of three new cruise ships - one 132,500-ton
vessel for its Costa Cruises brand and two 125,000-ton ships for its AIDA
Cruises brand. The ships will be the largest ever constructed for these two
Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s
largest cruise shipping group, is forecast to re[ort earnings per share (EPS)
of $1.62 for the third quarter of its financial year. The company, which is
listed in London and New York, will publish its third quarter figures at 3pm UK
Cruise industry analysts’ earnings
forecasts, posted on the company’s website, range from $1.58 to $1.65. In the
corresponding quarter last year, Carnival recorded EPS of $1.62. However, some observers note that a weak
Mediterranean business, hampered by unrest in the region, may have hurt the
company’s performance this time.