Carnival Corporation & plc announced non-GAAP net income of $216 million, or $0.28 diluted EPS for the fourth quarter of 2011. Reported net income, which includes net unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $1 million, was $217 million, or $0.28 diluted EPS. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2010 was $248 million, or $0.31 diluted EPS. Revenues for the fourth quarter of 2011 were $3.7 billion compared to $3.5 billion for the prior year.
Non-GAAP net income for the full year 2011 was $1.9 billion, or $2.42 diluted EPS, compared to net income of $2.0 billion, or $2.47 diluted EPS, for the prior year. Full year 2011 reported net income was $1.9 billion, or $2.42 diluted EPS. Revenues for the full year 2011 were $15.8 billion compared to $14.5 billion for the prior year.
The company recently implemented a fuel derivatives program to mitigate a portion of its economic risk attributable to potentially significant fuel price increases. The company believes it is more meaningful to evaluate its earnings performance by excluding the impact of unrealized gains and losses on its fuel derivatives from non-GAAP net income and diluted earnings per share until the gains or losses are realized. For further information on the company’s fuel derivatives program see “Fuel Derivatives” below.
Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison noted that earnings on a non-GAAP basis were in line with the company’s September guidance for the fourth quarter of 2011.
Commenting on 2011 full year results, Arison said, “On the whole, 2011 was an encouraging year for our global portfolio of cruise brands. Our North American brands performed well, achieving an almost four percent revenue yield increase, while our European, Australian and Asian brand yields were in line with the prior year (constant dollars) despite having been significantly impacted by the geo-political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. Higher revenue yields partially offset a 32 percent increase in fuel prices, which reduced earnings by $535 million or $0.68 per share for the year.”
Arison added, “Cash from operations of $3.8 billion provided more than ample funding for our $2.7 billion capital investment program and enabled the company to return excess cash to shareholders. Earlier this year, our quarterly dividend was increased from $0.10 to $0.25 per share resulting in $670 million of dividend distributions. In addition, we purchased 14.8 million of the company’s shares in the open market at a cost of $455 million.”
Key metrics for the fourth quarter 2011 compared to the prior year were as follows:
On a constant dollar basis net revenue yields (net revenue per available lower berth day,“ALBD”) increased 1.5 percent for 4Q 2011, which was in line with the company’s September guidance, up 1.0 to 2.0 percent. Gross revenue yields increased 0.3 percent in current dollars.
Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD decreased 1.8 percent in constant dollars, less than the September guidance, down 3.0 to 4.0 percent. Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD in current dollars increased 2.6 percent.
Fuel prices increased 39 percent to $680 per metric ton for 4Q 2011 from $488 per metric ton in 4Q 2010 and was in line with the September guidance of $686 per metric ton.
The company implemented a fuel derivatives program in 4Q 2011, which resulted in $1 million of net unrealized gains on its portfolio of fuel derivatives. There were no realized gains or losses on fuel derivatives during 4Q 2011.
Full Year 2012 Outlook
At this time, cumulative advance bookings for 2012 are at slightly higher prices with slightly lower occupancies compared to the prior year. For the last six weeks, booking volumes for the first three quarters of 2012 are running well ahead of the prior year at lower prices.
Looking forward, Arison stated, “Our base of business for 2012 is solid and we are experiencing strong booking volumes leading into wave season, our heaviest booking period which begins in early January. Despite the uncertain economic environment, we anticipate a continued slow recovery in yields in 2012 driven by ongoing consumer recognition that our cruises provide an exceptional value.”
He added, “A wide array of exciting innovations and the continued modernization of our existing global fleet should drive even greater consumer interest and enthusiasm for our brands. An example is Carnival Cruise Lines’ recently announced Fun Ship 2.0, which is a multi-year $500 million investment to transform the shipboard experience through exciting partnerships and new branded spaces. Carnival Liberty, which was recently re-introduced with several of the new features, has generated exceptional buzz and has been well received by consumers and travel agents.”
Based on current booking trends, the company forecasts full year 2012 net revenue yields, on a constant dollar basis, to be up 1.0 to 2.0 percent. The company expects net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for the full year 2012 to be in line with the prior year on a constant dollar basis. At current exchange rates, full year 2012 net income is expected to be reduced by $135 million or $0.17 per share compared to 2011 due to changes in currency exchange rates.
Taking all the above factors into consideration, the company forecasts full year 2012 non-GAAP diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $2.55 to $2.85, compared to 2011 non-GAAP diluted earnings of $2.42 per share.
Arison added, “We remain focused on strategic growth through the addition of two to three new ships per year and expect to continue to return excess cash to shareholders. Based on the above guidance, we estimate our cash from operations will approach $4 billion in 2012, while our capital investment commitment will be $2.6 billion. We expect to generate significant free cash flow in 2012 and beyond, which should provide further opportunities to return cash to shareholders.”
During 2012, the company will introduce three new ships. Costa Fascinosa is scheduled for delivery in April, while AIDAmar and Carnival Breeze are scheduled for delivery in May. Recently, P&O Cruises (Australia) sold Pacific Sun which will leave the fleet in July 2012.
First Quarter 2012 Outlook
First quarter constant dollar net revenue yields are expected to increase 1.5 to 2.5 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD for the first quarter are expected to be up 3.5 to 4.5 percent on a constant dollar basis compared to the prior year due primarily to the higher number of dry-dock days and related costs versus the prior year. Fuel costs for the first quarter are expected to increase $93 million compared to the prior year, costing an additional $0.12 per share.
Based on the above factors, including the higher fuel prices, the company expects non-GAAP diluted earnings for the first quarter 2012 to be in the range of $0.06 to $0.10 per share versus 2011 non-GAAP earnings of $0.19 per share.