Originally created 06/18/04

Carnival reports sharp jump in quarterly earnings



MIAMI -- Carnival Corp. & PLC, the world's largest cruise company, posted a sharply higher profit for the second quarter as cruise prices and bookings continue to recover from a slowdown caused by terrorism fears and the war in Iraq.

The Miami-based company reported net income of $332 million, or 41 cents a share, in the three months ended May 31, compared to $128 million, or 19 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. The results beat the 35 cents a share estimate of Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Revenues climbed to $2.26 billion from $1.34 billion a year ago as the company benefited from higher occupancy levels, from its merger with Britain's P&O Princess Cruises PLC in April 2003 and from the addition of seven new ships to its fleet. P&O Princess is now known as Carnival PLC.

"This has been a remarkable quarter," Carnival CEO Micky Arison said. He said all of the new ships are "enjoying great success in their respective markets."

Net revenue yields, a measure of how much money a cruise company makes per passenger, from cruise packages and onboard sales after cost of air transportation and travel agent commissions, rose 13.8 percent in the quarter. Passenger levels rose to 1.6 million from 1.3 million a year earlier.

Arison said advance bookings for the second half of the year are significantly higher than last year's level at the same time with strong pricing. The company raised its full-year earnings forecast from $2.05-$2.15 a share to $2.10-$2.20 per share. Analysts expect $2.13 a share, according to Thomson First Call.

Carnival has 77 ships across 12 brands and is scheduled to add eight more new ships to its fleet through December 2006.

For the first half of its fiscal year, Carnival earned $535 million, or 66 cents a share, up from $255 million, or 40 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $4.24 billion from $2.38 billion a year ago.

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