Carnival Corporation & plc, the Anglo-American cruise shipping group, said bookings run ahead of the level seen last year at this time at prices that are also higher, which has led it to increase its earnings per share (EPS) guidance for the financial year to 30 November 2017
The company now expects full year 2017 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $3.60 to $3.70 compared to March guidance of $3.50 to $3.70 and 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $3.45.
“At this time, cumulative bookings for the next three quarters are higher at prices that are well ahead of the prior year. During the quarter, booking volumes for the next three quarters have been running in line with last year, also at prices that are well ahead,” the company said.
Looking forward, Arnold Donald, President and CEO commented: “We are realizing sustained strength in booking trends across all core products. We are delivering on our strategy to grow demand in excess of measured capacity growth while leveraging our industry-leading scale resulting in increased return on invested capital. We are working hard to sustain the momentum.”
“We have accelerated returns to shareholders through our recent dividend increase, with annual dividend distributions now approaching $1.2 billion, and the reauthorisation of up to $1 billion in share repurchases.” Donald added that the company has completed $2.7 billion in share repurchases since late 2015.
Carnival group expects full year 2017 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 3.5 % compared to the prior year, better than March guidance of up approximately 3.0%.
The company expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency to be up approximately 1.5% compared to March guidance of up approximately 1.0%.
Changes in fuel prices (including realised fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.35 per share.
Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise shipping company, has reported a fall in second quarter net profit, mainly on losses on fuel derivatives, while operating profit and revenues both increased.
The company made a net profit of $379 million in three months to the end of May compared to $605 million in the same period a year earlier. Operating profit increased to $500 million from $478 million and revenues increased to $3.95 billion from $3.71 billion.
Losses on fuel derivatives amounted to $53 million in the review period, while a year earlier they had produced a gain of $171 million.
Earnings per share came to $0.52 compared to $0.31 in three months to 31 May last year and against the company’s own forecast at its first quarter interim report of adjusted earnings per share in the range of $0.43 to $0.47.
Arnold Donald group president and CEO said in a statement:, “Strong execution drove significant operational improvements, which more than offset the substantial drag from fuel and currency, leading to another second quarter adjusted earnings record.”
“It was reinforcing to see over five percent improvement in cruise ticket prices, affirming our efforts to increase demand by building positive word of mouth through the delivery of exceptional guest experiences as well as our innovative marketing and public relations programmes,” he stated.
On May 31 at the MSC Meraviglia Flag Ceremony, where MSC Cruises took delivery of the latest next-generation cruise ship built by STX France, the two companies signed a new memorandum of understanding firming up the order of two 200,000 gross ton, LNG-powered mega cruise ships, with options for two additional vessels. The four ships will become MSC Cruises’ World Class. The signing took place in the presence of Mr Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, and Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy.
In connection with the signing, MSC Cruises and STX France today also unveiled several key features of the World Class. Among other innovations, they will be equipped with a completely new generation of LNG-powered engines as well as a new generation waste water treatment system.
MSC Cruises’ World Class cruise ships will feature 2,760 staterooms and a maximum occupancy of 6,850 guests, the highest passenger capacity in the global cruise fleet. The vessels, which will be delivered in 2022 and 2024 – the options are for 2025 and 2026 – will have a length of 1,083 ft. and 154 ft. of beam.
Speaking at the MSC Meraviglia Flag Ceremony, Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, said: “Today, as we unveil MSC Meraviglia, a new vessel that marks the start of the next phase of our growth, we are delighted to confirm another key component of our ten-year investment plan: the World Class. These new vessels will further expand our partnership with STX France all the way to 2026, with up to seven additional innovative ships to be built during this period.”
STX France's CEO Laurent Castaing commented: “Once again, MSC Cruises has chosen to put their trust in our capacity to support their growth and expansion as well as in our ability to conceive, develop and build the world’s most modern and technologically-advanced cruise ships. By adding the new World Class to the four previous ship classes that we have delivered over the past 15 years, the number of vessels in their fleet built by STX France in Saint-Nazaire is set to reach 20. Our exceptional industrial partnership continues to benefit an entire region.”
The World Class’ futuristic “Y” shape structure will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships’ G bow (vertically positioned at a 90 degree angle) has been designed to improve stability, hydrodynamics as well as to enhance guest comfort. Other guest-centric innovations include family-friendly villages, a panoramic aft, and a glass pool lounge.
The announcement of the World Class was made as MSC Cruises officially took delivery of MSC Meraviglia. During the ship’s flag ceremony, which pays tribute to centuries-old maritime tradition, the Company’s newest flagship received her official flag and blessings for good fortune. MSC Meraviglia is due to set sail towards the Port of Le Havre for her christening ceremony on June 3.
Today at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, MSC Cruises officially took delivery of MSC Meraviglia. During the ship’s flag ceremony, which pays tribute to centuries-old maritime tradition, the Company’s newest flagship received her official flag and blessings for good fortune. The Flag Ceremony was attended by Mr Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic and other high-level dignitaries from the French government.
At 171,598 gross tons and with guest capacity of 5,714 (4,488 at double occupancy), MSC Meraviglia is both the biggest ship to ever be built by a European ship owner — MSC Cruises — and the biggest to come into service in 2017. She is also one of the six new ships due to come into service between 2017 and 2020 under the Company’s industry-unprecedented investment plan. Four of these six vessels will be built by STX France, further reinforcing a long-standing partnership that has already produced all 13 vessels in MSC Cruises’ fleet, allowing the Company to grow by 800% from 2003 to 2013.
MSC Cruises — the Swiss-based world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and brand market leader in Europe, South America and South Africa — estimates that its total investment at STX France from 2003 to 2020 will amount to over 7 billion euros (≈$7.8 billion USD), effectively making the Company the country’s number one foreign private investor (when it comes to export contracts.) Considering that the building of MSC Meraviglia required 1,700 workers per month (over 3,000 per month during peak periods) and nine million man hours, and that the construction work feeds into a network of more than 400 suppliers and subcontractors, the economic effects of this investment are not only widely felt across the country’s geography but also multiplied several times over.
Following her christening ceremony, which will take place in Le Havre on June 3, MSC Meraviglia will start her inaugural season sailing the Western Mediterranean.
“MSC Meraviglia’s coming into service marks a key milestone in the history and future of our Company,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises. “She represents the first realization of our long-term vision for further significant growth, which, in its first phase, culminated with MSC Cruises becoming two years ago the number one cruise brand across all of Europe, while on its way to further global growth.”
“Above all, we must celebrate the work of everyone: from all the workers of our partner STX France to MSC Cruises’ New Builds Team, each and every supplier and sub-supplier who has contributed to turning our vision into reality as well as everyone at MSC who has worked ashore and on board on this amazing project. A galvanized team of up to 3,000 workers a month and over 400 suppliers, built over the past three years the largest and most technologically advanced cruise ship ever constructed by a European ship owner. This is worth celebrating!” added Vago.
“Delivering a ship is always a time of great emotion for the shipyard: it is the culmination of three years of intense work for our employees and those of our partners, who have spared no effort to deliver on the exact date and in the quality conditions desired by our client MSC Cruises, this first ship of the Meraviglia class,” said Laurent Castaing, CEO of STX France. “Benefiting from our advances in R&D from the "Ship of the Future" program supported by ADEME, this prototype is a great achievement that we can all be proud of and which allows us to look confidently at the next three ships.”
During today’s flag ceremony, the shipyard’s pennant and the French flag were lowered, accompanied by the French national anthem, before Laurent Castaing, CEO of STX France, formally handed the ship over to MSC Cruises’ owner Gianluigi Aponte. Mr. Aponte then gave command of MSC Meraviglia to Master Raffaele Pontecorvo before the ship’s flag and MSC Cruises’ pennant were raised.
The honor of cutting the ribbon fell to the ceremony’s godmother, Ms. Zoe Africa Vago, daughter of MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman and Alexa Aponte-Vago, MSC Group’s CFO. After the traditional breaking of the bottle of champagne, three blasts from the ship’s siren signalled the end of the ceremony.
MSC Meraviglia, the 13th cruise ship to join MSC Cruises’ fleet since its inception in 2003, is 1,034 feet long, 141 feet wide and 214 feet high, with 171,598 GRTs. She is able to travel up to 22.7 knots and has been designed to operate in all seasons and to be able to call in most of the world’s international cruise ports, offering the widest and most exciting range of marine as well as onboard features of any MSC Cruises ship to-date.
After the closing of the flag ceremony, MSC Meraviglia is due to set sail towards the Port of Le Havre for her christening ceremony on June 3. She will then begin her first sailing along the Atlantic coast, calling at Vigo (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), all the way to the Mediterranean, calling in Barcelona (Spain), Marseille (France) and eventually Genoa (Italy). She will commence the first regular 7-night itinerary on June 11, sailing from Genoa on to Naples (Italy), Messina (Italy), Valletta (Malta), Barcelona, Marseille and back to Genoa on June 18.