Thursday, August 24, 2006

CCL's Arison on Alaskan Tax ...

Cold Shoulder: As expected, Carnival Corporation & plc takes a dark, chilly view of Alaska’s Ballot Initiative 2 potential impact, approved by state voters for 2007 implementation. Here's Carnival chairman Micky Arison's take: “We are disappointed that the Ballot Initiative 2 has passed as we believe this will inhibit the future growth and expansion of Alaska’s tourism business ... The estimates of the impact of these taxes are being made prior to our finalizing deployment, legal and other business decisions that will need to be considered as a result of this initiative.”

In other words, think again, Alaskans, the fat lady has yet to sing.

Carnival says it can't estimate impact the $50 per passenger head tax and other levies may have on Alaskan biz. The initiative includes a gaming tax on any wagering conducted within state waters as well as a state corporate income tax. Carnival estimates the gaming and income taxes could reduce 2007 earnings per share by about thee cents. The initiative also calls for cruise lines to reveal profits on shore excursions and any ad revenues earned from shoreside biz. CCL carries about 560,000 passengers annually in Alaska aboard 16 ships – eight from Holland America, seven from Princess, and one from Carnival. Carnival could take measures end up deploying fewer ships to Alaska, shutting down casino operations in Alaskan waters while retooling itineraries for more time in open waters, and wrapping shore excursions into cost of the cruise.

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