"Our cruise business goes from strength to strength," said Lord Sterling, Chairman of P&O, parent company to Princess Cruises, upon releasing the company's results for the six month period ended June 30, 1993.

P&O announced pre-tax operating profits of 45.5 million pounds for its cruise and ferry operations for the first six months, compared to 48.1 million pounds for the same period last year.

P&O stated that its U.S. cruise operations' results were well ahead of last year, while results in Europe were "marginally down." Its ferry operations carried a record number of passengers, but rates were said to be "increasingly under pressure".

Lord Sterling also noted that the construction of the 67,000-ton Oriana continues on schedule and will further strengthen P&O's position in the European market when launched in 1995. Another newbuilding joins Princess Cruises also in 1995, the 70,000-ton, 1,950-passenger Sun Princess.


Overall, P&O reported pre-tax profits of 291.6 million pounds on total revenues of 2.7 billion pounds for the first six months of 1993, boosted by a 211.5 million pounds gain from the sale of its catering business, compared to 151.2 million pounds on revenues of 2.5 billion pounds in the same period last year. Net profit before the profit on the sale of fixed assets and businesses and before taxation was 80.1 million pounds, compared to 89.9 million pounds for the same period in 1992.

Operating profit increased to 147 million pounds compared to 143 million pounds for the same period last year.

The result was attributed to a fall in profits from bulk and container shipping and was termed disappointing by analysts.

Lord Sterling commented that "I would reiterate that improvements are coming through to profits more slowly than current official optimism might indicate."