Carnival Q4 Closes Out Strong 2016; Robust Outlook for 2017

Reporting fourth quarter and 2016 full year earnings today, Carnival Corporation’s fourth quarter revenue was nicely up, seeing growth in both passenger ticket revenue, onboard spending and shore excursions.

Net income rose from $270 million for the quarter in 2015 to $609 million in 2016. Last year’s results were also pulled down by a loss on fuel derivatives.

Arnold Donald, president and CEO, noted on the company’s earnings call that ticket price improvements were across the board, with the company growing yield by increasing demand while managing supply growth.

Capacity will be up 2.6 percent in 2017.

David Bernstein, CFO, said bookings for 2017 were well ahead of the prior year at higher prices, noting strong performance in Alaska.

“The remaining inventory is going fast,” he said of Alaska. Pricing is also up in Europe, with occupancy ahead of last year.

Ticket revenue rose from $2.7 billion in Q4 of 2015 to just under $2.9 billion in 2016, while onboard spending was up from $969 million to just over $1 billion.

Expenses were also up slightly across the board, with higher year-over-year quarterly expenses in commissions, onboard, payroll, fuel, food and ship operating costs.

“We remain committed to responsibly containing costs,” said Donald, who noted fuel and currency costs were working against the company at the same time.

As for China, Donald said “things are looking great,” but did note it was a B2B business model.

“We feel comfortable in China,” Donald continued. “Things are very positive, but it is B2B and we have additional charters and sub-charters to complete.”

On the subject of Cuba, Donald explained the company had requested additional sailings for multiple brands and was in the process of receiving authorizations.

“We have every intention of cruising to Cuba,” he said, noting one or more Carnival brands are expected to be approved from June 2017 onwards.


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