Carnival & plc Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year Earnings

Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) reported net income of $371 million, or $0.47 diluted EPS, on revenues of $3.3 billion for its fourth quarter ended November 30, 2008. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2007 was $358 million, or $0.44 diluted EPS, on revenues of $3.1 billion. Included in the 2008 fourth quarter results is a gain of $31 million on the sale of Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2.

The company reported net income for the full year ended November 30, 2008 of $2.3 billion, or $2.90 diluted EPS, compared to net income of $2.4 billion, or $2.95 diluted EPS, for the prior year. Revenues for the full year 2008 increased to $14.6 billion from $13.0 billion for the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison indicated that operating results in the fourth quarter were better than the company’s September guidance primarily due to lower fuel costs, and stronger than expected revenue yields on close-in bookings.

Commenting on fourth quarter results, Arison said that “achieving increased fourth quarter earnings is a significant accomplishment considering the challenging environment. Higher ticket prices for our North American brands, combined with our continued focus on managing controllable costs helped us offset $84 million of higher fuel expense during the quarter.”

For the full year, Arison said that “even though fuel increased 55 percent, costing the company $626 million more than in 2007, excellent cost controls and a 2.4 percent revenue yield improvement allowed us to post solid earnings in a very difficult year.”

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