Databank has awarded Costa Cruises, the leading Italian company in Europe, the title of “Company to Watch 2008”. In their Competitors 2008 survey, experts at Databank, Italy’s leading company in the field of competitive intelligence – the systematic gathering, analysis and dissemination of strategic information about competitors and the competitive environment – have identified Costa Cruises as the best player in the tour operators sector for 2008.

Now in its second year, the award is based on an analysis conducted every year by Databank on the main companies in 250 different sectors of the Italian economy. The “companies to watch” are identified using various parameters, such as economic and financial results, corporate strategies, marketing and advertising plans, product quality, company image. The following strengths have been identified in particular as regards Costa Cruises:

- solid equity, which allows significant investments to be made to expand the fleet;
- quality at affordable prices;
- visibility in points of sale ensured by dedicated corner stands;
- excellent image strengthened by the highly recognisable brand;
- wide product portfolio (around 250 destinations).

In 2007, Costa Cruises confirmed the increased strength of its leadership in Italy and Europe with a group consolidated turnover of 2,021.6 million euros (+22% on the previous year) and a total of 1,100,000 Guests, a record for the cruise sector in Europe. Costs Cruises expects the total number of Guests to have grown by 6% by the end 2008 compared to 2007, a percentage which is in line with the increased supply planned for this year (generated by the availability throughout the year of the flagship Costa Serena, which came into service in May 2007 - editor's note). The Company’s next target is to reach 1.5 million Guests in total in 2010, equivalent to a growth of over 35% in just 3 years. This new, prestigious target is supported by a major fleet development plan, the biggest in the world, which includes 5 new ships arriving in 2012, all built by Fincantieri in Italy with a total investment of 2.4 billion euros. Once they have come into service, the new ships will increase the fleet's capacity by 50%. By 2012, the Company will have 17 ships offering beds for 46,400 Guests.

A major contribution to the growth of Costa Cruises is provided by the new and exclusive itineraries introduced by the Company, the first in the world to offer cruises in the Far East departing from China, in the Arabian Gulf departing from Dubai, and in the Indian Ocean departing from Mauritius.

In 2007, Costa Cruises also appeared in a further two prestigious rankings with excellent results:

- the Mediobanca ranking of 3,600 businesses, which covers the best Italian companies that have achieved a turnover of 50 million euros in the previous financial year, and in which Costa Cruises was ranked 19th among Italy’s biggest industrial groups like Eni, Enel, Fiat, Telecom, etc.

- the ranking published by the Busacca & Associati Competitiveness Review of 1,600 companies, which classifies Italian companies in terms of competitiveness and strategies, and in which Costa was ranked among the top 20, alongside renowned Italian brands that are famous around the world, such as Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, Pomellato, Geox.