Carnival Reports 2014 and Positive 2015 Outlook

Holland America Line's Noordam (photo: Antonio Simas)Carnival Corporation’s 2014 earnings per share of $1.59 (GAAP) on revenues of $15.9 billion, compared to $1.39 last year on revenues of $15.5 billion, were driven by a combination of both modestly higher ticket prices and onboard spending per passenger day, in addition to increased capacity and lower costs, offset by increased marketing spend and fuel derivatives.

An aggressive-sounding Arnold Donald, CEO and president, who has found his stride in the industry, outlined a number of initiatives to drive demand for 2015, combined with cost containment, that he said will help return the company to double digit return on invested capital.

He said that driving demand to outpace capacity will create scarcity (and higher ticket prices).

Donald said marketing and advertising spend have been stepped up across the brands, being 25 percent higher in 2015 than in 2012. The goal is to reach new-to-cruise and drive them toward the company’s brands.

In addition, cross brand deployment alignment has been accelerated on a global scale along with procurement. Donald said that best practices and best tools are being applied across the company, and noted that a new vice president of group revenue performance has recently been appointed.

Procurement initiatives have led to $20 million of savings in 2014 and a further $70 to $80 million are expected in 2015, according to Donald, for a cumulative cost savings of about $100 million by the end of 2015. He noted that he expects there to be more opportunities.

Other efforts include the removal of older, less efficient ships and introducing new tonnage, as well as structural changes within the company. Donald mentioned the creation of the Holland America Group under Stein Kruse, and the appointment of a new CEO for Holland America which he noted has a strong record in high performance culture change.

Early indications for 2015 are very positive, despite the high capacity in the Caribbean in Q1, and some caution in the Australian market which will see a 20 percent capacity increase.

The 2015 EPS forecast non-GAAP is in the range of $2.30 to $2.60, compared to $1.96 (non-GAAP) this year.

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