Monday, December 20, 2010

Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL): Q4 Earnings Preview 2010

Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL) is scheduled to release fiscal fourth-quarter earnings before the market open on Tuesday, December 21, 2010. Analysts, on average, expect the company to report earnings of 32 cents per share on revenue of $3.36 billion. In the year-ago period, the company reported earnings of 24 cents per share on revenue of $3.21 billion.

Carnival Corporation operates as a cruise and vacation company in the United States and internationally. The Company has a portfolio of cruise brands and is a provider of cruises to all vacation destinations.

In the preceding fiscal third-quarter, the Miami, Florida based company's net income was $1.30 billion, or $1.62 per share, compared to $1.07 billion, or $1.33 per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue grew to $4.43 billion from $4.14 billion. Analysts, on average, expected the company to report earnings of $1.47 per share on revenue of $4.42 billion. 

At its last earnings call in September, the company said that it expects fiscal fourth quarter earnings in the range of 32 cents to 36 cents per share. This includes the impact of unfavorable currency and fuel costs of $0.07 per share in the fourth quarter, and also compares to the $0.24 per share in the fourth quarter of 2009. Net revenue yields are expected to be up 2.5% to 3.5% (decline 1–2% on a constant dollar basis). Net cruise costs -- excluding fuel -- are expected to be down 1% to 2%, compared with the prior-year quarter, on a constant-dollar basis.In addition, the company also raised its earnings estimates for full-year 2010 in the range of $2.48 to $2.52 from $2.25 to $2.35, based on strong booking for the rest of 2010. Carnival Corporation reiterated its net revenue yields guidance of up 2% to 3% on a constant dollar basis.

Recently, the company announced that it has cancelled additional departures of the Carnival Splendor including the January 16, 23, 30 and February 6 and 13, 2011 voyages to allow for additional repair time following an engine room fire aboard the vessel in November.  The ship is now scheduled to re-enter service February 20, 2011. Earlier, when the Splendor incident took place, the company estimated that the voyage disruption and related repair costs will negatively impact fourth quarter earnings by 7 cents a share, but will have minimal impact on first-quarter 2011 earnings. However, now that the Carnival Splendor voyage is cancelled through January and most of February, the first quarter results will also be hurt significantly.

The company has benefited from a strong booking and pricing trend. However, surging fuel prices, a greater exposure to sluggish European markets, lower Caribbean prices in the first half of 2011 and the overall economic uncertainty will likely hurt Carnival’s growth in the near term. 

In terms of stock performance, CCL shares have gained nearly 32% since the beginning of the year. 

Full Disclosure: None.
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