Carnival Corporation has reported net income of $1.03 billion, or $1.66 per share, on revenues of $3.5 billion for its year ended Nov. 30, 1999, compared to net income of $835 .9 million, or $1.40 per share, on revenues of $3.0 billion for 1998.
For its fourth quarter ended Nov. 30, 1999, Carnival reported net income of $251.0 million, or $0.40 per share, on revenues of $791.2 million, compared to net income of $220.6 million, or $0.37 per share, on revenues of $728.6 million for the same quarter in 1998.
Commenting on the fourth quarter, Micky Arison, chairman, said that the company achieved its 34 consecutive quarter of year-over-year earnings improvement despite the adverse affects of the Kosovo conflict, an unusually difficult hurricane season, the fire aboard the Tropicale, and significantly higher fuel costs.
For the forward bookings outlook, Arison said in a conference call to analysts that the company has caught up on first quarter bookings in the last several months. The Carnival fleet is now slightly ahead year-over-year, while three months ago, it was behind. Arison and vice chairman Howard Frank attributed the closer-in bookings to the Millennium, expecting bookings to pick up when people settle down after the first week of January.
Arison said that since June he has seen a clear pre and post-millennium pattern of bookings. As a result all the cruise lines are discounting pre- and post millennium cruises, according to Arison. But the millennium cruises themselves are in great shape, Arison said, so that overall the first quarter will be fine, he added.
"We expect the Wave Month to be strong," Frank said, who said that he was 'instinctive' as well as encouraged by anecdotal feedback from travel agents as well as by general economic indicators.
2000 will be significant year for Carnival, which will see a 12 percent increase in capacity compared to 1999.
"The major deals are now off the table," Frank said, adding that Carnival will continue to explore opportunities in Europe and potentially in the Far East. "We will be looking on a global scale," he added.
In addition, Carnival will look into other potential acquisition opportunities in leisure or travel that would work within the Carnival family, according to Frank. Frank also said he would not rule out a share buy back, but not at this time.
Carnival's investments in ports gives the company better control of the embarkation and disembarkation process and it keeps costs down, Arison noted, who said that Carnival continues to look at other locales in the Caribbean and the U.S.
During 2000, Frank said Carnival expects to announce more newbuildings, adding that the company will also look at a newbuilding program for Costa, which he said has "enormous" potential in Europe.