Carnival reports strong first quarter

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"We are off to a good start delivering another quarter of operational improvement on top of a very strong first quarter last year," said Carnival Corporation & plc President and CEO Arnold Donald, as the cruise giant reported first quarter results that saw U.S. GAAP net income reach $352 million, or $0.48 diluted EPS, compared to $142 million, or $0.18 diluted EPS in the first quarter of last year. First quarter 2017 adjusted net income was $279 million, or $0.38 adjusted EPS

Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains and losses on fuel derivatives and other net charges, totaling $73 million in gains for the first quarter 2017 and $159 million of losses for the first quarter 2016. Revenues for the first quarter of 2017 of $3.8 billion were higher than the $3.7 billion in the prior year.

"Our performance was driven by increased demand, particularly for our core Caribbean itineraries, leading to higher year-over-year ticket prices which enabled us to overcome the significant negative impact of both fuel and currency to exceed the high end of our guidance range," said Mr. Donald.

Currently, says Carnival, cumulative advance bookings for the remainder of 2017 are well ahead of the prior year at considerably higher prices. During the quarter, both booking volumes and pricing for the remainder of 2017 have been running ahead of last year.

"Wave season, our peak booking period, was strong leaving us well positioned with bookings at considerably higher prices and with less inventory remaining for sale in 2017 compared to the prior year, resulting in increased earnings guidance," said Mr. Donald.

The company expects full year 2017 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 3 percent compared to the prior year, better than December guidance of up approximately 2.5 percent. The company continues to expect full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency to be up approximately 1 percent compared to the prior year. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.35 per share.

Taking these factors into consideration, the company expects full year 2017 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $3.50 to $3.70 compared to December guidance of $3.30 to $3.60 and 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $3.45.

Second quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up approximately 2.5 to 3.5 percent compared to the prior year. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the second quarter of 2017 are expected to be higher by approximately 1.5 to 2.5 percent compared to the prior year. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.12 per share. Based on these above factors, the company expects adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter 2017 to be in the range of $0.43 to $0.47 versus 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $0.49.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and CEO Arnold Donald