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.