Is Carnival Corporation (CCL) Poised for Long-Term Growth? - Analyst Blog

On Aug 11, 2014, we issued an updated research report on Carnival Corporation ( CCL ).

This leading cruise operator posted strong fiscal second-quarter 2014 results on Jun 25 with top and bottom lines beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The bottom line of 10 cents was also better than management's guidance range of a loss of 2 cents to earnings of 2 cents.

The quarter witnessed a turnaround in Carnival's fortunes buoyed by the company's brand building efforts and other promotional activities. This is reflected in the better-than-expected revenue yields and lower-than-anticipated cruise costs, which drove the solid results.

Net cruise costs (in constant dollar) per available lower berth day (ALBD) (fuel and impairments excluded), increased 1.2% primarily due to higher dry-dock costs, as well as advertising and promotion expenses. However, the cost increase was lower than the company's March guidance of a rise in the range of 2.5% to 3.5%.

Total revenue in the quarter rose 4.4% year over year to $3.63 billion. Also, revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.58 billion by 1.4%. Revenues in the quarter benefitted from higher in cruise sales and onboard spending. However, net revenue yields (in constant currency) declined 2.2% year over year in the second quarter, better than the company's guidance of 3 4% decline. Gross revenue yields (in current dollars) also dropped 0.5%.

Though the company expects revenue yield to decline in fiscal third-quarter 2014, it is expected to improve toward the end of fiscal 2014 driven by a strong booking environment.

In fact, the company is continuously undertaking new marketing initiatives to increase its customer base. The company plans to spend more than $600 million in 2014 on advertising, up 20% from 2012. Also, the company indicated that it will offer promotional advantages for its guests in fiscal 2014.

Carnival's ships have been facing one accident after another, significantly affecting its reputation. In order to recover, the company has undertaken a series of initiatives. Although these initiatives have pressured the company's profit, raising its costs at the current level, these are expected to prove beneficial over the long term.

Carnival continues to focus on enhancing its fleet by retiring old ships and adopting new technology. Going forward, such initiatives will help the company to achieve better revenue yield and improve profitability.

Moreover, the company has adopted a strategy to grow beyond its familiar itineraries and capitalize on Asian opportunities. In 2013, the company doubled its presence in China. The burgeoning Chinese middle class bodes well for the company's cruise business. Management considers Asia a significant growth driver and is set to expand the fleet size in the region, going ahead.

Carnival Corp. presently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same industry include Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ( RCL ), Diamond Resorts International, Inc. ( DRII ) and Speedway Motorsports Inc. ( TRK ). While Royal Caribbean sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Diamond Resorts and Speedway Motorsports have a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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