(Adds details on forecast)
March 28 Carnival Corp, the world's
largest cruise operator, reported a better-than-expected
quarterly profit on Tuesday and raised its forecast for
full-year earnings, sending its shares to a record high.
Cruise operators such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises
Ltd and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd have
benefited in recent years as more consumers seek experiences
such as travel and fine dining.
Increase in cruise travel is expected to continue this year,
with an estimated 25.3 million passengers expected to sail in
2017, compared to 15.8 million a decade ago, according to Cruise
Lines International Association, an industry trade body.
Carnival, which operates the Costa and Princess cruise
lines, hiked ticket prices last year in response to growing
demand from Asia and for cruises to Alaska and the Caribbean.
"At this time, cumulative advance bookings for the remainder
of 2017 are well ahead of the prior year at considerably higher
prices," Carnival said in a statement.
The company now expects adjusted earnings for the year
ending November to range between $3.50 and $3.70 per share, up
from a prior forecast of $3.30 to $3.60 per share.
Analysts on average were expecting $3.61 per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Carnival also raised its forecast for net revenue yields, a
keenly watched metric that measures spending per available
berth. It now expects full-year yields to rise about 3 percent
on constant currency terms, compared to a prior forecast of a
2.5 percent increase.
On-board spending, which makes up about a quarter of
Carnival's total revenue, grew 6 percent in the first quarter
ended Feb. 28, as the company added more entertainment options
such as casinos and IMAX theaters to its cruises.
Net revenue yields climbed 3.4 percent in the first quarter
on a constant currency basis.
Carnival's net income rose to $352 million or 48 cents per
share in the quarter, from $142 million or 18 cents per share, a
Excluding one-time items, Carnival earned 38 cents per
share, topping analysts' average estimate of 35 cents per share.
Revenue rose 3.8 percent to $3.79 billion. Analysts on
average had expected $3.78 billion.
Carnival's shares were up 1.5 percent at $59.73 in morning
trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock hit a record
high of $60.24 earlier.
Shares of Royal Caribbean, the No. 2 U.S. cruise operator,
were up 1 percent.
(Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan and Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru;
Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)