Carnival’s Q4 Earnings Down on Soft Demand

Carnival Corp. says its fourth quarter profit fell close to 50 percent as bookings during the recession still lagged. Carnival reported net income of $193 million on revenues of $3.2 billion. At the same time last year, Carnival reported profits of $371 million on revenues of $3.3 billion. Lower fuel prices did help Carnival beat Wall Street expectations.

Micky Arison, Carnival Corp. chairman and CEO, commenting on full year results said, “We weathered the most challenging economic environment in the company’s history exceptionally well. In 2009, Carnival was the most profitable leisure travel company, which is testament to the strength and quality of our global portfolio of highly recognized brands and their management teams. On significantly reduced global travel demand, net revenue yields for our North American brands fell 13 percent while our European brands’ yields fell a more modest 6 percent (in constant dollars). Despite an 8 percent capacity increase, the stronger performance of our European brands in this economic environment reinforces our strategy to expand our European presence, which will continue in 2010 with four of six newbuilds scheduled for our European brands. In addition, through effective global cost containment initiatives we achieved $170 million of savings since the start of the year, which partially offset the pressure on net revenue yields.”

Arison added, “During the fourth quarter, we placed our first new ship order in two years which demonstrates our continued confidence in the future of our industry.” The new 3,690-passenger ship for Carnival Cruise Lines will be the third ship in the Dream-class and is set to enter service in June 2012.

Earlier this month, the company furthered its strategy to expand its European presence when it announced that Princess Cruises’ 710-passenger Royal Princess will transfer to P&O Cruises (UK) in the spring of 2011 and be renamed Adonia.