Wednesday, December 21, 2005

CCL Still Very Much in the Black

DAMN THE FUEL COSTS, FULL SPEED AHEAD: Despite whopping fuel cost hikes nearing 50 percent and the worst hurricane season in company history, Carnival Corporation's Chairman and CEO Micky Arison calls record fourth quarter performance a "testament to the resilience of our cruise business" noting 20 percent earnings growth for record fourth quarter results. For the full year, Arison credits increased pricing and a continued sharp focus on cost controls in offsetting a $180 million year-over-year rise in fuel cost. All facets "from contemporary to luxury, performed well," Arison reports. Carnival posted record net income of $353 million, or $0.43 diluted EPS, on revenues of $2.6 billion for its fourth quarter ended Nov. 30, 2005. Net income for fourth quarter 2004 was $294 million, or $0.36 diluted EPS, on revenues of $2.2 billion. Net income for the year ended Nov. 30, 2005 was $2.3 billion, or $2.70 diluted EPS, on revenues of $11.1 billion, compared to net income of $1.9 billion, or $2.24 diluted EPS, on revenues of $9.7 billion for the same period in 2004. Fourth quarter revenues increased by 14.4 percent driven by both a 9.1 percent increase in capacity and a significant hike in revenue yields. Looking forward, Arison projects "continued revenue yield growth in 2006." The company has three ships set delivery – Holland America's 1,918-passenger Noordam in January, Princess Cruises’ 3,100-passenger Crown Princess in May, and Costa's 3,000-passenger Costa Concordia in June, for a 5.5 percent capacity increase. The company also has a deal for four new ships – two for delivery in 2008 and two in 2009. Carnival, the world's largest cruise vacation group, has 12 brands -- Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises, Swan Hellenic, and P&O Cruises Australia. Check out Metroguide.com’s cruise port guide at http://www.portofcallguide.com/