MIAMI — Carnival Corporation & plc saw net profit fall 16.9% year-on-year to $1.08 billion in the 12 months ended Nov. 30 with revenue up 0.5% to $15.46 billion in a year that had a number of challenges for the company.
Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald noted that fourth quarter earnings on a non-GAAP basis were better than anticipated in the company’s September guidance due primarily to better than expected cruise ticket prices and onboard spending for Carnival Cruise Lines.
“Accelerated progress in Carnival Cruise Lines’ brand recovery had a positive impact on fourth quarter results. A steady stream of innovative product initiatives, the launch of a nationwide marketing campaign and travel agent outreach program, as well as an industry-leading vacation guarantee fueled the brand’s improvement.”
Key metrics for the fourth quarter 2013 compared to the prior year were as follows:
On a constant dollar basis, net revenue yields (net revenue per available lower berth day or ‘ALBD’) decreased 2.1% for 4Q 2013, which was better than the company’s September guidance, down 3.0 to 4.0%. Gross revenue yields decreased 0.9% in current dollars.
Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD increased 6.5% in constant dollars, driven by higher advertising spend. Costs were higher than September guidance, up 3.5 to 4.5% due primarily to the timing of expenses. Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD in current dollars increased 1.6%.
Commenting on full year 2013, Donald stated, “Even in a challenging year, our company continued to produce strong cash from operations approaching $3 billion, funding our capital commitments and returning value to shareholders through regular dividend distributions of $775 million and share repurchases of $100 million.”
Donald further commented that the company’s flagship brand Carnival Cruise Lines also undertook a number of strategic initiatives. The brand implemented a major travel agent outreach program, Carnival Conversations, a series of roadshows reaching thousands of agents across the country to better align with travel partners.
In addition, the brand launched a new advertising campaign ‘Moments That Matter’, featuring the memorable vacation moments experienced every day by millions of guests as captured through their own images. The ‘Great Vacation Guarantee’, a one-of-a-kind hassle free vacation guarantee was also introduced.
At this time, cumulative advance bookings for 2014 are behind the prior year at prices in line with prior year levels. Since September, booking volumes for the first three quarters of 2014 are running well ahead of last year’s levels at lower prices.
Donald noted, “We are catching up on booking volumes and gaining momentum as we enter 2014. We believe the compelling value we have in the marketplace will continue to stimulate strong demand leading to a solid wave period. We continue to expect revenue yields to turn positive in the second half of 2014 compared to the prior year.”
Based on current booking trends, the company forecasts full year 2014 net revenue yields, on a constant dollar basis, to be down slightly compared to the prior year (in line with the prior year on a current dollar basis). First quarter revenue yields (constant dollars) are expected to decline 3 to 4% compared to the prior year and improve during the remainder of 2014 based on a recovery in ticket prices.
Looking forward, Donald stated, “With over 100 ships and more than 10 million guests we have a scale advantage that cannot be replicated in this industry”.