Carnival Corporation provided a positive outlook on 2008 in its year-end conference call on Dec. 20, forecasting earnings per share in the range from $3.10 to $3.30, :ompared to $2.95 for this fiscal year.
Five new ships will be introduced next year, and passenger capacity for the Carnival brands will be up 9 percent in 2008 - 3.4 percent in North America and 21.7 percent in Europe.
Advance bookings for the first half of 2008 are well ahead of last year, according to Carnival, both in terms of occupancy and pricing.
Carnival reported net income of $2.4 billion, or $2.95 per share, on revenues of $13.0 billion for its fiscal year ended Nov. 30, 2007, compared to net income of $2.3 billion, or $2.77 per share, on revenues of $11.8 billion last year.
Carnival Chairman and CEO Micky Arison commented: "Our European brands enjoyed another record year, absorbing substantial new capacity and driving significant improvement in unit operating profit. Although operating performance for our North American brands was hampered by pricing pressure in the Caribbean early in the year, demand for Caribbean cruises strengthened considerably as the year progressed, and we expect this trend to continue in 2008."
Carnival posted net income of $358 million, or $0.44 per share, on revenues of $3.1 billion for its fourth quarter ended Nov. 30, 2007, compared to net income of $416 million, or $0.51 per share, on revenues of $2.8 billion for the fourth quarter last year. Rising fuel prices and higher drydock costs held back the fourth quarter performance, according to Arison.
Vice Chairman and COO Howard Frank said that one-third of Carnival's business is global, that is, generated outside of the U.S. Hence, the company is less affected by the U.S. economy. He added that the baby boomer market is also less affected by the economy, thus also contributing to the cruise markets resilience in the light of economic downturns.
The only brands that are sourcing 90 percent or more of their passengers from national markets are P&O Cruises, Ocean Village and Aida Cruises, according to Frank.
Arison also pointed out Carnival's growth course in Europe. He said that when Carnival acquired P&O there was little growth planned for the respective brands and that the dramatic growth since has been easily absorbed by the markets.
Carnival is also confident that it can continue to grow Cunard Line in the future, Frank said, noting what he called the brand's strong performance.
Cost a Crociere will also be doubling its capacity in Asia, moving the Allegra to Singapore, while deploying the larger Classica in China as of spring 2009.