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Fincantieri and French government sign STX France agreement

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Fincantieri S.p.A. , the Italian shipbuilder, said that it has signed with the French State, represented by the Agence des Participations de l'Etat (APE), the Heads of Terms announced on 6 April, to acquire a stake in STX France, the St Naxzaire based builder of e.g. cruise ships.

“The agreement, which is a key element for the finalisation of the final agreements among future shareholders, also includes the guidelines of the business plan, shared with APE, prepared by Fincantieri for STX France. Fincantieri is working with the Court of Seoul in order to finalise the acquisition of STX France as soon as possible,” Fincantieri said.

STX France is 64% owned by the STX Offshore & Shipbuilding group, based in South Korea. It has run in serious financial difficulties and it is selling various assets as a result. The French government controls 34% of the shares in the French shipbuilder.

 

Fincantieri delivers Silver Muse ahead of schedule

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Silver Muse, the new ultra-luxury cruise ship built by Fincantieri for Silversea Cruises, was presented today at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa Sestri Ponente.

The official delivery of the ship will take place tomorrow morning, Monday, April 3rd.

Guests attending the ceremony included His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, who blessed the ship, Giovanni Toti, Governor of Liguria, Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the Chairman of Silversea Cruises, and Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri.

At 40,700 gross tons and the capacity to accommodate 596 passengers on board, Silver Muse represents an evolution of Silver Spirit, delivered in 2009 by Fincantieri in Ancona, and redefines the ultra-luxury ocean travel experience, while maintaining the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations which are hallmarks of the Silversea experience.

The new build expands Silversea's fleet to nine ships. Silver Muse will offer guests the highest number of large suites (Silver, Royal, Grand and Owner's) in the fleet, and the greatest number of connecting suites for families and friends. Silver Muse offers a welcoming blend of spaciousness, luxury, and comfort, where guests can feel immediately at home. In addition, she will offer more restaurants than any other ultra-luxury ship – eight venues – offering the finest and widest bespoke culinary experience at sea.

Among the voluntary notations of the ship, the “Green star 3 Design” stands out. It is assigned to units that are designed, built and equipped in order to prevent air and water pollution. Furthermore, the “COMF-NOISE A PAX” and “COMF-NOISE B CREW” are assigned on the basis of the noise levels measured on the ship. Results have confirmed the extremely high level of comfort offered to passengers on board.

A new call system (CRM, or Customer Relationship Management) was used on Silver Muse to perform all the inspections with the ship owner and the Classification Society. It defines all the necessary regulations to inspect the different ship components and uses tablets to take track of all the events, without getting off board.

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “A cruise ship is the result of the most complex innovation and product process and it represents the state of the art of this industry, as Silver Muse proves. For our company, indeed, this is the second delivery in just four days, with two different kind of ships, in two different yards and for different customers. This demonstrates our operational capacity, unique in the world.” Bono concluded: “With the current record workload level, Fincantieri guarantees full employment of its sites dedicated to cruise ship building until 2025 with an annual average incidence of 1% - in the coming years - on the Italian GDP. This is why our group is considered and appreciated worldwide as an excellence and fundamental for our country.”

Manfredi Lefebvre d'Ovidio, Silversea Chairman, said: “Since the laying of the keel in December 2015, Silversea and Fincantieri have been working closely together to produce one of the finest ships to leave this shipyard and we look forward to welcoming our first guests onboard. On behalf of everybody at Silversea, I would like to thank Fincantieri for their tireless commitment to deliver Silver Muse to us on schedule and to such a high standard of craftsmanship.”

Roberto Martinoli, CEO at Silversea Cruises, said: “Today marks another milestone for Silversea, our guests and our colleagues as we celebrate our new flagship, Silver Muse, joining the fleet. The attention to detail throughout the ship is a reflection of our dedication, in conjunction with Fincantieri, to offer the ultimate luxury experience at sea.”

Fincantieri has built 78 cruise ships since 1990 (55 since 2002) and 29 other ships are currently being designed or built in the Group's yards.

Carnival raises 2017 earnings guidance to £3.50 to $3.70 per share

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Carnival Corporation & plc, the American-British cruise shipping group, expects full financial 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.

“At this time, 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,” the company said in a statement. Its financial year ends on 30 November.

Arnold Donald, President and CEO commented: “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.”

“We are clearly benefiting from our efforts to increase cruise consideration through guest experience innovations, creative marketing, and public relations programs. We are reaching consumers through multiple touch points and laying the foundation for continued earnings improvement and sustained double digit returns on invested capital,” he said.

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 realised fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.35 per share.

Carnival first quarter net profit soars to $352 million, but operating income falls

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest cruise shipping company, has reported a rise in net profit for three months to 28 February to $352 million from $142 million in the same period a year earlier.

Earnings per share rose to $0.38 from $0.18, in accordance with US GAAP rules.

However, operating income fell to $368 million from $434 million and the bottom line was lifted by a reduction in non operating losses that narrowed to $14 million from $291 million. The main part of these came from fuel derivatives, which produced a $27 million profit compared to a loss of $236 million in the same period a year earlier.

President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald said in a statement: “We are off to a good start delivering another quarter of operational improvement on top of a very strong first quarter last 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.”

Key information for the first quarter 2017 compared to the prior year:

  • Gross revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day or “ALBD”) increased 0.1 percent. In constant currency, net revenue yields increased 3.8 percent for 1Q 2017, better than December guidance of up 1.5 to 2.5 percent.
  • Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD increased 2.9 percent. In constant currency, net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD increased 3.2 percent, compared to December guidance of up 1.5 to 2.5 percent, due to the timing of certain expenses.
  • Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates decreased earnings by $0.13 per share.

Carnival UK CEO Noyes to leave, Seattle based Stein Kruse assumes post (Updated)

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Josh Weinstein, corporate treasurer of parent company Carnival Corporation & plc, will become president of Carnival UK following the planned departure of current CEO David Noyes in July after six years in the business.

Weinstein will be responsible for overseeing both P&O Cruises and Cunard.

He will report to Stein Kruse, currently CEO of the Holland America Group, who is promoted to group CEO of Holland America Group and Carnival UK.

Noyes will remain in his role until July 18 to ensure a smooth transition. The Southampton-based Carnival UK executive team will then report to Weinstein, following his move to the UK in April. Carnival UK chairman David Dingle will continue in his role.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the New York University School of Law, Weinstein, 43, joined Carnival Corporation 15 years ago as an attorney in the corporate legal department before assuming the role of corporate treasurer.

Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald said: "Some time ago, David Noyes advised me that he wished to step down as CEO Carnival UK during 2017 to spend more time with his family.

"David has excelled in his time as CEO of Carnival UK and has planned a smooth and effective transition.

"We greatly appreciate his leadership, his team spirit and the many important contributions he has made to our success."

Donald added: "In his current role, Josh Weinstein has been a strong contributor to the company's successful results.

"I am confident he will do a great job in his new role and continue to build on our strong legacy of success in the UK. "

Donald continued: "Stein Kruse has done an exemplary job in leading the Holland America Group.

"The two groups will continue to be managed separately as they are today but will benefit from more closely aligned collaboration."

Noyes said: "I will be leaving Carnival UK as a thriving, profitable and market leading business. I know that with Josh at the helm, the company will continue to go from strength to strength as the UK cruise sector maintains its exceptional levels of growth."

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