Carnival Cruise Lines has reported revenues of $323.6 million for its first quarter ended February 28, 1993, compared to $328.8 million for the first quarter of 1992.
Net income was $50.7 million compared to $46.8 million in the same period last year. The increase in net income was mainly attributed to lower interest cost.
This is the first time Carnival has reported lower revenue for its first quarter. That, combined with a company statement that the outlook for the year was "unclear" and an admission that its early booking program was not yet improving yields, led to a sudden drop in share prices on the New York Stock Exchange. At press time Carnival was trading for $33 5/8 compared to $38 before the announcement.
Carnival also attributed the revenue decline to fewer passenger operating days due to a higher number of dry dockings and wet dockings of ships in the first quarter of 1993, as compared to 1992.
Together with Holland America Line and Windstar Cruises, the company carried 265,151 passengers during the quarter compared to 279,910 passengers carried during the first quarter of 1992. Overall occupancy was reported at 100.9 percent, down slightly from 101 percent achieved during the first quarter of 1992 but the lowest reported for a first quarter.
"The outlook for the remainder of the year is unclear," Arison said, "because a continued over supply of berths in the contemporary cruise market makes revenue yield difficult for the Carnival brand.
"In order to maintain our pre-eminent brand positioning, Carnival intends to accelerate its own advertising activity, including a program of investment spending in network television," Arison said.
Carnival's SuperSaver discount program has not yet boosted passenger revenues as expected. Instead, it is speculated that passengers have booked further out to obtain the savings that the program offers. The SuperSaver program was introduced November 1, 1992.
Analysts, who only two weeks ago had been very bullish on Carnival, said they were still very optimistic about the company's future, but surprised at the first quarter results. They said most of their investors liked the long-term outlook for Carnival.
In the meantime, EPS forecasts for 1993 and 1994 were adjusted downwards from the $2.30 range to $2.25/$2.22 for 1993, and from the $2.80 range to $2.75/$2.65 for 1994.
Carnival's relatively poor results for the first quarter also coincides with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's IPO. Analysts said it was uncertain if Carnival's results would have any impact on RCCL's offering.