Tags: US | Earns | Carnival

Carnival's Profit Falls 33 Percent on Costly Fuel

Tuesday, 23 Mar 2010 10:48 AM

High fuel prices dragged down results at cruise operator Carnival Corp., cutting first quarter profit by 33 percent, the company said Tuesday.

But the owner of Carnival, Princess and Holland America cruise lines said its revenue still climbed 8 percent as demand improved and cruise prices rose.

For the three months that ended Feb. 28, Carnival earned $175 million or 22 cents per share. During the same period last year, the company earned $260 million, or 33 cents per share.

This year's results included a one-time gain of 5 cents per share from the sale of a ship.

Revenue climbed to $3.10 billion, from $2.86 billion.

The results released were better than Wall Street forecasts. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the Miami company to earn 14 cents per share with revenue of $3.09 billion. Those estimates typically exclude the impact of one-time items.

Cruise lines have struggled as passengers stayed home during the recession. They've had to cut prices to keep their ships full. But as they've begun to tentatively raise prices again, the carriers have been hit by rising fuel prices.

In the first quarter, Carnival paid nearly 80 percent more for fuel than it did during the same period in 2009. That cost the company the equivalent of 22 cents per share.

Carnival shares rose $1.03, or 2.7 percent, to $38.94 in morning trading Tuesday.

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