Carnival Corporation (CCL)
reported net income of $126.9 million ($0.22 diluted EPS) on revenues of $1.03 billion for its first quarter ended February 28, 2003, compared to net income of $129.6 million ($0.22 diluted EPS) on revenues of $906.5 million for the same quarter in 2002. Earnings for the first quarter of 2003 included nonoperating income of $14.7 million, resulting from net insurance proceeds of $19 million, less certain other nonoperating expenses. Earnings for the first quarter of 2002 included $5 million of nonoperating income.
Cruise revenues for the first quarter of 2003 were up 14 percent compared to the same quarter in 2002 due to an increase in capacity of 14.7 percent, partially offset by a decline in the number of guests purchasing air transportation from the company. Net revenue yields (net revenue per available lower berth day after deducting the cost of air transportation and travel agent commissions) for the quarter were approximately equal to the first quarter of last year. However, excluding the impact of an increase in capacity weighted toward the lower priced contemporary cruise products, net revenue yields for the 2003 quarter were 2 percent higher.
"Our first quarter 2003 results were impacted by concerns about a war with Iraq, an uncertain worldwide economy and historically high fuel costs," said Carnival Corporation Chairman and CEO Micky Arison
. "These factors created an extremely challenging environment for leisure travel businesses around the world. Despite these adversities, we had a reasonably satisfactory quarter, again demonstrating the resiliency of our cruise business," Arison noted.
During the first quarter of 2003, Holland America Line launched the new 1,848-passenger Zuiderdam from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the first ship in its new Vista-class series, which offers about 85 percent of its cabins with ocean views, of which approximately 80 percent have balconies. Arison noted that the ship has been receiving rave reviews from consumers and travel agents alike, as well as receiving a premium price compared to the other Holland America ships.
Looking to the remainder of 2003, the factors which affected the first quarter are also impacting the balance of the year, particularly the second quarter. Bookings for the second quarter slowed as concerns over the war with Iraq heightened
, causing a close-in booking curve and resulting in a reduction in cruise prices. Because of the Iraqi war and its impact on consumer travel, the company is not able to give specific guidance for second quarter net revenue yields, other than they are expected to be less than last year. Costs per available lower berth day are expected to rise approximately 10 to 12 percent in the second quarter compared to last year's levels due primarily to the same cost areas, which affected the first quarter of 2003.