Carnival Updates Shareholders on Safety Review

At the April 11 annual meetings, executives said the first phase of the "very thorough and complete review" will be completed next month. It began after the Costa Concordia ran aground.

The top managers of Carnival Corporation & plc weathered a demonstration outside the hotel hosting their companies' annual meetings in Miami Beach, Fla., on April 11, and they predicted the world's largest cruise company also will grow its revenues this year. Japanese and Chinese cruise customers are promising new markets, Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Howard Frank said.

Much of Frank's presentation concerned safety in the company's operating brands -- no surprise given the worldwide attention paid to that topic after the Costa Concordia ran aground and turned on its side near the Italian coast Jan. 13, resulting in more than 30 deaths. It was operated by Carnival's Costa Cruises.

Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison opened the meetings by expressing sorrow for the people who died in the incident and their families. He thanked the ship's crew, the population of the island Giglio who assisted in the nighttime rescue, and emergency responders. Arison then asked for a moment of silence for the victims.

Frank told shareholders there are some signs Costa Cruises' bookings are returning to normal, "but it's going to be a challenge," he added.

He explained that "a very thorough and complete review" of safety in all of Carnival's brands began after the grounding. The first phase of the review will be completed in May 2012, and the review's results will be shared with the industry and with regulators, Frank said.

Frank said the companies expect earnings per share in FY2012 to be in the range of $1.40 to $1.70 versus $2.42 in FY2011, adding that fuel prices are expected to reduce earnings this year by $407 million, or 52 cents per share. Revenues in FY2011 rose 9 percent to $15.8 billion from $14.5 billion in FY2010, he said.

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