|The atrium aboard Carnival Liberty, the newest FunShip 2.0// Photo by Susan J. Young|
Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, reported 2011 net income of $1.9 billion versus $2 billion for the previous year, while full year 2011 revenues were $15.8 billion, compared to $14.5 for the previous year.
“On the whole, 2011 was an encouraging year for our global portfolio of cruise brands,” said Micky Arison, Carnival Corp.'s chairman and CEO. He said earnings were in line with the company’s guidance to analysts.
“Our North American brands performed well, achieving an almost four percent revenue yield increase, while our European, Australian and Asian brand yields were in line with the prior year… despite having been significantly impacted by the geo-political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa," Arison reported.
He also said higher revenue yields partially offset a 32 percent increase in fuel prices, which reduced earnings by $535 million for the year.” Arison noted that $3.8 billion in cash from the company’s operations “provided more than ample funding for our $2.7 billion capital investment program."
The company also returned excess cash to shareholders in 2011. Earlier in the year, the company increased its shareholder dividend from $0.10 to $0.25 per share resulting in $670 million of dividend distributions. In addition, the company bought back 14.8 million of its own stock shares in the open market at a cost.
Outlook for 2012
Carnival Corp’s cumulative advance bookings for 2012 are currently running at slightly higher prices with slightly lower occupancies compared to the prior year. For the past six weeks, booking volumes for the first three quarters of 2012 are running well ahead of the prior year but at lower prices.
“Our base of business for 2012 is solid and we are experiencing strong booking volumes leading into Wave Season, our heaviest booking period which begins in early January,” said Arison. “Despite the uncertain economic environment, we anticipate a continued slow recovery in yields in 2012 driven by ongoing consumer recognition that our cruises provide an exceptional value.”
Based on current booking trends, the company forecasts full year 2012 net revenue yields to be up 1 to 2 percent. At current exchange rates, full year 2012 net income is expected to be reduced by $135 million due to changes in currency exchange rates.
The company remains firmly focused on strategic growth, Arison said, noting that the firm will add two to three new ships per year for its various brands. The line also plans to continue to return excess cash to shareholders.
During 2012, the company will introduce three new ships. Costa Fascinosa is scheduled for delivery in April, while AIDAmar and Carnival Breeze are scheduled for delivery in May. Recently, P&O Cruises (Australia) sold Pacific Sun, which will leave the fleet in July 2012.